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Allegheny County gets cut of $2.1 million in state grants for electric vehicles

A charging station along Second Avenue in Pittsburgh for the city's electric vehicle fleet.
Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA
A charging station along Second Avenue in Pittsburgh for the city's electric vehicle fleet.

Allegheny County’s electric vehicle fleet is growing. The county will soon have four electric pickup trucks and 10 electric cars. The new vehicles come thanks in part to a $45,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday.

The department announced $2.1 million in funds for municipalities and businesses looking to electrify their transportation. The grants were awarded as part of the state’s 2021 Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program. $2.7 million was announced in January for similar projects.

The program is designed to incentivize municipalities and businesses to cut down on emissions by replacing gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicles with electric, renewable or compressed natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel or propane gas-fueled vehicles.

“Investing in zero and low-emission transportation pays off big: It helps us breathe healthier air and slow down climate change,” said Department of Environmental Protection executive deputy secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “With this round of grants, we’re excited to support 99 electric vehicles, charger installations, and more transportation upgrades that will drive better air quality in Pennsylvania.”

Vehicles release 21% of carbon dioxide emissions statewide, according to the DEP. The agency's Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan estimates that unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lowered, Pennsylvania will be on average 5.9 degrees Fahrenheit hotter by the middle decades of this century and have an average of five to eight weeks over 90 degrees Fahrenheit every year.

New grant funding was announced this week for 13 municipalities and businesses across the state. The projects are expected to collectively reduce gasoline use by 478,000 gallons per year. They are also expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,642 metric tons per year and nitrogen oxide emissions by 6,429 kilograms per year.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was awarded $7,500 to use toward the purchase of an electric car. In Fayette County, the Chestnut Valley Landfill will receive $300,000 for eight compressed natural gas-powered garbage trucks.

“These investments have improved our operations, our health, our bottom line and our county,” Brittany Prischak, Allegheny County’s sustainability manager, said at a press conference Thursday.

The county is also planning projects to pilot alternative fuels. Dual fuel propane garbage trucks are already in use at county parks, according to Prischak.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.