The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) contains the highest federal funding yet for the 5 r’s of diesel- retrofits, replacements, repowers, replace and refuel.  The competitive announcements for the ARRA Funding for National Diesel Emissions Reduction Program became available on March 20, 2009. Better get your act together if you still want an application in- the deadline is April 28th to submit a request for funding.  If you can’t make the deadline there will be normal funding available ($60 million) in the fall. 

Who can file the application?

  1. Regional, state, local, tribal or port agency with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality; and
  2. Nonprofit organization or institution which:

a) Represents or provides pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that operate diesel fleets; or

b)Has, as its principle purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality

What will it pay for?

  • 75% for engine repowers
  • 25% for all replacements except
  • 50% for school buses that meet 2010 standards
  • 100% for retrofit technologies
  • 100% for idle reduction technologies
  • 100% for engine upgrades (kits only)
  • 100% for incremental cost of cleaner fuels

Much more information is available on U.S. EPA’s Region 5’s web page.  Just page down to the section on ARRA. 

Helpful information and tips are available from the Diesel Technology Forum.  For example, here is some very helpful advice on addressing one of the more perplexing components of filing a DERA application- calculating jobs retained or created.

How to Calculate Job Creation – Follow the Flow. Finally, the issue which appears to be causing the most apprehension among applicants is the need to demonstrate how a project will preserve or create new jobs. The sheer range of retrofit options (remember the 5 Rs of retrofit: retrofit, rebuild, repower, replace and refuel?) as well as the varying locations and productivity of individual equipment manufacturing facilities make it very challenging to offer solid figures of new jobs added. But don’t despair. Everyone is in the same situation, so applicants are advised to focus on writing a credible, well-reasoned narrative which highlights the general labor/job impacts along every step of the project flow.

For example: project manager oversees grant award, progress, reporting; device manufacturers produce XXX new devices for the grant (incremental increases in manufacturing, packaging, processing, shipping jobs affected); equipment dealer schedules service to install devices (estimated XXX man-hours for mechanics, helpers and administrative); and so on, specific to your project. If you are not installing equipment yourself, you can ask the equipment manufacturer who has helped assess the fleet to provide an estimate of time necessary to conduct the type of installation you’re seeking. A formula which seeks to quantify jobs through use of a multiplier building on study by Keybridge Research is also available at


At $20 million over two years, Ohio had the largest dedicated diesel fund in the entire Midwest.  Ohio received awards for the DERG program.  Round 2 of funding was just completed and the State will be passing out nearly $11 million in funding.  Seemed like a program well worth continuing…

The Diesel Coalition sought to renew the DERG program for another two years at the same level of funding.  Ultimately. H.B. 2 included only $5 million in funding for DERG over the next two fiscal years.  This is a $15 million dollar reduction from the past two years.  While the Legislature included the full $20 million in funding, the Governor issued a line item veto of the funding (see below).

The Ohio Diesel Coalition still intends to request $20 million in funding for DERG in the regular budget bill.  The Coalition, of which I am a member, will be asking that the $15 million designated for the Public Transportation Green Fleets Program in H.B. 2 to be consolidated with DERG. 

Green Fleets are eligible for funding under DERG.  The Coalition believes it would be better to create a single competitive grant program and allow the best and most effective projects to get funding.  Hopefully we can restore funding for this very successful and worthwhile program.

Governor’s Veto message in H.B. 2:

SECTION 512.43.

This provision establishes a diesel emission reduction grant program using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds from the Federal Highway Administration.

This provision would have a negative impact on the Department of Transportation’s operations because it diverts a large portion of available flexible funding to specific purposes.

I have directed the Department to dedicate $5 million toward a diesel emissions reduction program for purposes consistent with the intent of the legislation. This funding will provide assistance to small businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises. Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.

(Photo: terinea/