Blumenthal Applauds Clean Fuel Programs In Transportation Bill, Urges Action By House

(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) urged prompt action by the House of Representatives on the federal transportation bill by joining business and transportation leaders to highlight key programs in the bill that would strengthen Connecticut’s role as a leading developer and manufacturer of clean fuel transportation technologies.

“I urge prompt action by the House and call on the Speaker to do what is necessary to put this nation back to work by taking up this bill without delay,” said Blumenthal. “The Senate’s decisive and bipartisan passage of a transportation bill shows progress toward continued investment in infrastructure and is the right policy for Connecticut and the nation to ensure that our fragile economic recovery stays on track. The clean fuel programs in the bill will enhance Connecticut’s competitive edge, growing jobs in our state’s fuel cell industry.” 

“The department looks forward to being able to access an additional potential pool of funding to help it advance its industry-leading position in using clean fuel vehicles in the transit industry,” said Mike Sanders, Transit Administrator of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT).

 “UTC Power is proud that our proven fuel cell products for both transportation and stationary applications are breaking records in durability and contributing to a cleaner environment for all,” said UTC Power Vice President and General Manager Joe Triompo. “Together with Senator Blumenthal, CTTRANSIT and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, we are leading Connecticut and the country into the future of sustainable energy.”

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century – the federal bill that reauthorizes national surface transportation programs – passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support on Wednesday. It includes nearly $200 million for programs that invest in emerging clean fuel technologies – many of which are developed and manufactured in Connecticut and effectively implemented in statewide transit systems.

The Senator specifically advocated for two programs - The Clean Fuel Grant program and the Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Projects program. These programs would prioritize – by law - federal investment in fuel cells and other clean fuel technologies for use in transit systems and fund research, development, and implementation projects to effectively deploy these technologies around the country.

  • Clean Fuel Grant Program:  This program receives $65 million in FY2012 and $65 million in FY2013.  It supports emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses and markets for those technologies, which are highly utilized in Connecticut. The federal bill that passed the Senate now requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to prioritize zero emission technologies (e.g. fuel cells and all electric technologies) to be funded by this program before anything else. 
  • Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Projects Program:  The bill allocates $34 million each year in FY2012 and FY2013 for this program.  This program improves public transportation by funding research, development, demonstration and deployment projects. Transit agencies, universities and non-profits can all apply for these funds—awarded groups will then contract with various suppliers to design and make their fuel cell bus.

Blumenthal was joined by ConnDOT Transit Administrator Mike Sanders, UTC Power President Joe Triompo, and CTTRANSIT General Manager David Lee to discuss how the bill benefits the state’s fuel cell, construction, and manufacturing industries, and commuters of every mode. CTTRANSIT currently operates five buses equipped with UTC Power hydrogen fuel cells, developed and manufactured in South Windsor, Connecticut, and procured using federal funds.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the federal transportation bill supports approximately 23,800 jobs in Connecticut. Current transportation authorization expires March 31st.

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