Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the Federal Highway Administration's Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program will provide $30 million to increase Colorado's natural gas fueling infrastructure. The funds will provide for the statewide construction of compressed natural gas fueling stations and the purchase of natural gas vehicles (NGV).
"Increased use of natural gas as a transportation fuel diversifies Colorado's portfolio, supports locally produced energy, improves air quality and can save money through lower fuel costs," Hickenlooper said. "These funds are critical to support installation of compressed natural gas fueling stations along the state's major transportation corridors. These stations will help ensure an NGV owner can drive nearly anywhere across the state fueled by Colorado-produced gas."
In 2011, Hickenlooper and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin joined 14 other states to sign a multi-state Memorandum of Understanding committing to the purchase of NGVs for each State's fleet and encouraging the development of more functional and affordable CNG vehicles. As a result of the effort, car manufacturers are offering states lower cost NGVs and more model types including the recent introduction of half-ton trucks and mid-sized sedans which run on CNG.
Earlier this month, the Colorado Energy Office led an agreement among 29 large fleet owners including local governments, private sector companies, other public entities and members of the natural gas industry. These organizations committed to help accelerate the deployment of NGVs and a fueling station infrastructure to increase the use of a cleaner, domestic resource that diversifies Colorado's transportation fuels.
The CMAQ funds will help with the construction of as many as 30 compressed natural gas fueling stations, and for the adoption of at least 1,000 natural gas vehicles to be awarded for use statewide. The four-year program will be managed by the Colorado Energy Office with the support of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Regional Air Quality Council (RACQ) and local governments.
The CMAQ funds received approval through a vote by the Colorado Transportation Commission today.