HomeGreen BusEPA Taking Applications for $115M in DERA Competitive Grant Funding

EPA Taking Applications for $115M in DERA Competitive Grant Funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is accepting applications to access up to $115 million for projects to reduce harmful commercial vehicle emissions under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants program.

EPA stated awards of up to $4.5 million for each applicant will be selected by the 10 regional offices for an expected total of 100 awards, with four to 10 cooperative agreement grantees in each region.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity opened Wednesday and closes Dec. 1 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Applications must be submitted electronically via grants.gov after a sam.gov account is created. Applicants have until Nov. 10 to submit questions to the EPA. The anticipated notification of award selection is March 2024, with funding expected to be distributed between June and August of next year.

Eligible vehicles include diesel-powered school buses, transit buses, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and marine engines. Solutions to be funded included replacing diesel vehicles with “clean alternative fuel engines” – gasoline included – and “zero tailpipe emissions” battery or fuel-cell electric power sources certified by EPA or the California Air Resources Board. DERA also covers certified engine replacement using cleaner alternative fuels or conversion to zero emissions, and verified idle reduction, retrofit and aerodynamic technologies.

Priority is given to projects that operate in disadvantaged communities, in nonattainment or maintenance areas under the National Ambient Air Standards and in areas of air toxic concern, defined as counties that contain at least one U.S. Census tract where modeled ambient diesel particulate matter concentration from the 2019 Air Toxic Screen Assessment is above the 80th percentile for census tracts nationwide.

Priority is also given to applications that demonstrate engagement with affected communities and populations, the ability to protect grant-funded investments from severe weather events and plans and activities to prepare the local workforce for the project.

The available awards are the result of combining $88 million in fiscal year 2022 funds and $57 million in fiscal year 2023 funds.

At STN EXPO Reno, EPA physical scientist Grant Jones, a member of the Clean School Bus Program team, told attendees during a July 18 general session that an additional $60 million in DERA money appropriated under the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to open next summer.

Last week, EPA notified states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories of their final allocations of the 2023-2024 DERA state grants.


Related: Update: EPA Announces Latest Clean School Bus Program Grants
Related: EPA Report to Congress: DERA Heavily Awards School Bus Sector
Related: (STN Podcast E166) Shifting: The Move Away From Diesel + Successes, Challenges in Oregon Districts

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