Winners Announced for 2020 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards
TDEC and TDOT recently announced the winners of the 2020 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards (TSTAs).
The TSTAs recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state. A panel of judges selected the following 2020 winners (a full description of the winning projects is available here):
  • Southwest TN Development District
  • Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority
  • Knoxville Utilities Board
  • American Natural Gas / Frito-Lay Fayetteville
  • Town of Chapel Hill
  • Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
  • Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County departments of Planning and Public Works / KCI Technologies, Inc.
  • NET Trans / Alliance AutoGas
The recipients were recognized on November 17 by the TDEC and TDOT Commissioners during the final webinar of the virtual 2020 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum webinar series. Recordings of the virtual webinar series will be available soon at
TVA Board Approves New Commercial Rate Structure for EV Charging Infrastructure
TVA’s Board of Directors recently approved a new commercial rate structure intended to support the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the Tennessee Valley. TVA’s Local Power Companies will be able to use this wholesale rate option to provide charging station developers with a stable, economic electricity cost for infrastructure operation, improving the business case for owners and operators of charging stations and encouraging investment in public charging infrastructure development. For more information, click here.
TNECD Receives Funding for Rail Extension Project in Lake County
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) was recently awarded $7 million for a rail extension project in Lake County. This project will be funded by the U.S. DOT’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants Program and will involve the construction of approximately 5.5 miles of rail to connect the TennKen short-line railroad with the Port of Cates Landing and an adjoining Select Tennessee certified industrial site. By providing a rail alternative, which will reduce truck vehicle miles traveled in the area, the project will reduce both transportation-related emissions and costs. The project will be constructed above the region’s 100-year flood plain, promoting infrastructure resiliency and reducing the probability that the track would be impacted by flooding in the future. The Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority has partnered with TennKen Rail and the Lake County Industrial Park to develop, implement, and maintain the project. Click here to read more about other projects to be funded under this year’s BUILD grant cycle.
Knoxville Area Transit Selects Up to 25 All-Electric Buses, Associated Charging Infrastructure
Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) has awarded New Flyer of America Inc. a contract for the purchase of 12 all-electric heavy duty transit buses, with an option to purchase up to 13 additional buses throughout the term of the five-year agreement. This partnership follows KAT’s first battery-electric bus purchase in 2019 and is part of the city’s effort to reduce community emissions, 44% of which come from transportation. The new electric buses will support existing KAT transit routes and will serve students, seniors, and the wider community by providing access to essential stops and services across the city. To read more about the City of Knoxville’s sustainability efforts and goals, click here.
Tennessee RiverLine Announces 15 Partner Communities
The Tennessee RiverLine Partnership has announced an inaugural cohort of 15 communities that will work together to catalyze new investments, economic opportunity, social health, and ecological stewardship along the Tennessee River; the three-stage initiative will cultivate collaboration among Tennessee River communities to develop a continuous system of paddling, hiking, and biking experiences along the river’s 652-mile reach, from Tennessee to Ohio. Eight of the new partner communities are located in Tennessee and include Benton County, the City of Clifton, Hardin County, the City of Knoxville, Loudon County, the City of South Pittsburg, Stewart County, and Roane County. Click here to learn more about the communities and their involvement.
Kingsport Unveils New Section of its Greenbelt Walk/Bike Trail
The City of Kingsport held a ribbon-cutting celebration to officially open the newest section of the Greenbelt, the city’s publicly accessible crosstown walking and biking trail. The Greenbelt Eastern Extension Project, which is a one-mile segment located on the eastern end of the trail, was largely funded by TDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program. The grant program aims to improve access to alternative means of travel and provide a better quality of life for Tennesseans through projects such as restoration of historic facilities, development of bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping, and other non-traditional transportation projects. The city is also planning a 0.6-mile western extension, which is currently in the environmental review process. Click here to learn more about the Greenbelt and the benefits it provides to the local community.
Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee
Tennessee Clean Fuels recently released a request for proposals under the 2021 “Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee” (RDE4HT) rebate program, which is funded by the State of Tennessee’s annual allocation under the U.S. EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Program. RDE4HT is designed to reduce diesel emissions in the transportation sector and can support 1) the replacement of diesel vehicles with new alternative fuel vehicles (e.g., propane, compressed natural gas, electric, hybrid, etc.); 2) the replacement of old diesel vehicles with new diesel vehicles; 3) the conversion of diesel vehicles to new alternative fuel or diesel engines; or 4) the installation of Truck Stop Electrification equipment at Tennessee-based travel centers.
Eligible applicants may include both public and private entities. Fleets may apply for as few as one vehicle or as many as 15, and there are no restrictions on the model year of the vehicle to be replaced. Applications are due by December 11. Click here to view the full solicitation and application. Questions can be directed to Jonathan Overly at or 865-974-3625.
TIFIA Rural Project Initiative
U.S. DOT’s Rural Project Initiative (RPI) is an effort to make Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) financing more accessible to smaller, rural communities. Under RPI, entities in qualified rural areas with an eligible surface transportation project between $10 million and $100 million in cost may receive significant savings over traditional TIFIA loans and other commercial financing products, including loans for up to 49% of a project’s eligible costs and fixed interest rates equal to one half of the U.S. Treasury rate of equivalent maturity at the time of closing. Eligible projects include roads, bridges, and tunnels; transit systems including infrastructure, bus and train stations, and buses and passenger rail vehicles; intermodal connectors; pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure; freight transfer facilities; sea and inland waterway ports; and airports. To learn more about eligibility for RPI financing, see the FAQ here or contact the Build America Bureau at
SMART Mobility Consortium Webinar Series
U.S. DOE is hosting a series of Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility Consortium webinars this fall, designed to help participants in this sector deliver new data, analysis, and modeling tools as well as to create new knowledge in support of smarter mobility systems. The remaining webinars will take place at the following dates and times:
For the full list of presenters, registration links, and to view recordings of previous webinars, see the full webinar series schedule here.
Autogas Answers Virtual Event
Tennessee Clean Fuels (TCF) and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) will hold a virtual Autogas Answers event on December 16 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Central. This event will aim to educate organizations on how they can reduce both fuel and maintenance expenses over a vehicle’s lifetime by utilizing propane autogas as a transportation fuel. It will provide an opportunity for fleet professionals to hear directly from Tennessee fleets currently utilizing propane autogas as well as from propane infrastructure and fuel providers. The event will also include a discussion of available funding opportunities that may assist in offsetting the incremental purchase cost of autogas vehicles. Click here to register.
Taking a Regional Approach to Electric Vehicle Readiness
The Rocky Mountain Institute recently released a report titled “Taking a Regional Approach to Electric Vehicle Readiness,” which analyzes the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the areas surrounding major cities to determine their relative preparedness for widespread electric vehicle adoption. The report takes into account electric vehicle suitability for regional travel by evaluating metropolitan area readiness, “day trip” destination readiness, and the availability of charging stations at airport facilities.

The report identified Nashville as a “Regional Readiness Leader,” highlighting the Drive Electric Tennessee initiative and its close working relationship with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s Department of General Services. The Nashville area was noted as having the most robust electric vehicle infrastructure network in the East-South Central division; Nashville also ranked 11 out of the 60 U.S. regions studied for electric vehicle readiness. Click here to learn more.
Alt Fuels Demonstration Library
Tennessee Clean Fuels recently released a video series of electric vehicle owner testimonials and fleet success stories in celebration of the 2020 National Drive Electric Week. These videos are a part of the newly launched Alt Fuels Demonstration Library (AFDL), a YouTube Channel with curated video demonstrations, tours, testimonials, webinars, and other content to inform viewers about the benefits of alternative fuels. Tennessee Clean Fuels will continue to add videos to the AFDL channel on ethanol (E85), biodiesel (B20 and other blends), natural gas (CNG, LNG, RNG), and propane (LPG) in the coming months. Click here to learn more.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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