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President Barack Obama's fiscal-year 2015 budget proposes allocations for many elements of transportation funding, but it doesn't include an appropriation for a program that's been vital to many railroads and ports the past several years: the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.Railroads and ports have used DERA grants to install emission-control and/or fuel-saving devices on locomotives. Originally authorized as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the program has a proven track record of reducing emissions and improving air quality in all 50 states, Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) officials said in a press release. Unlike other federal funding programs, DERA provides a 13:1 return on each dollar invested in a project, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).“Zeroing out the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act seems counterintuitive and at odds with the EPA’s transportation and clean air priorities for 2014,” said DTF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer. “In the last budget cycle, Congress rebuffed the administration and restored $13 million for this, the FY2014 DERA program, and a broad coalition of environmental, public health and industry groups is already on record and working with Congress on this FY2015 budget."DTF officials hope the bipartisan support that DERA has received in both the Senate and House will initiate action in Congress to save the program funding, he said.
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