April 22, 2009 By Corey McKenna
Vice President Joe Biden today announced $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state and local governments and transit authorities to expand fleets of clean vehicles and the fueling infrastructure necessary to support them.
Biden acknowledged the commitments state and local governments have made to reducing green house gases and carbon emissions. "From advanced battery cars to hybrid-electric city buses, we're going put Recovery Act dollars to work deploying cleaner, greener vehicles in cities and towns across the nation that will cut costs, reduce pollution and create the jobs that will drive our economic recovery," he said.
The Clean Cities program offers $300 million to support at least 30 alternative fuels or advanced vehicles projects and requires a 50 percent participant cost share. Technologies eligible to be funded include a number of different light and heavy-duty vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, hydraulic hybrid, electric, fuel cell, and compressed natural gas vehicles. In addition, projects can support refueling infrastructure for alternative fuels, including biofuels and natural gas. Other efforts eligible for funds include public awareness campaigns and training programs on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and infrastructure.
The Clean Cities program is a government-industry partnership led by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that promotes the growth of alternative fuels and showcases the potential of advanced fuels and vehicles. The existing program has helped put more than half a million alternative fuel vehicles on the road and played a role in the construction of thousands of alternative refueling stations.
Applicants to the program must be state governments, local governments, or metropolitan transit authorities, that partner with a designated Clean Cities coalition. Once awarded, these funds will help local and state government agencies make investments in clean transportation vehicles and fuels that they may not have the resources to do otherwise.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.