GNRC Mayors Declare 2020 the Year of Transportation
The 65 mayors of the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) have declared 2020 to be the Year of Transportation, calling upon fellow policymakers as well as the public to address traffic congestion and infrastructure challenges in Middle Tennessee. For context, Middle Tennessee is currently home to about 2 million people who each travel, on average, 33 miles and 48 minutes per day over a collective 1,600 bridges and 13,000 miles of roadway. Between 2010 and 2040, the GNRC expects the region to experience a 76% increase in population, 86% more volume on area roadways, 26% slower travel speeds, and a 162% increase in the amount of miles traveled in congested conditions. To address these imminent mobility concerns, the GNRC is gathering local and State leaders to develop a new Unified Transportation Plan that will identify and prioritize transportation solutions eligible for federal funding across the region. Learn more about the plan at
Vanderbilt Launches New Hub to Encourage Sustainable Commute Options
Vanderbilt University’s Transportation and Mobility Office has launched the MoveVU Commute Hub as a one-stop commuter information resource for the Vanderbilt community. The Commute Hub, which includes a mobile application and website to track users’ commuting behavior, allows Vanderbilt staff, faculty, and students to better understand their commute options beyond driving alone (e.g., WeGo public transit, bicycles, scooters, walking, carpooling, vanpooling, etc.).

The new tool is part of MoveVU, the university’s strategic transportation and mobility plan, which aims to give commuters more options to choose from when making daily travel decisions to and around campus. The Commute Hub will allow users to connect with one another to carpool or vanpool, record their commuting habits, understand the impact on sustainability they’re making through their commuting choices, and earn incentives and rewards for sustainable commuting. Visit the MoveVU website to learn more about Vanderbilt’s transportation and mobility efforts.

Clarksville Transit Service Adds Hybrid Electric Buses to Fleet
Clarksville Transit Service placed three new hybrid electric buses into service this month, continuing a trend of updating their fleet with more modern and fuel-efficient vehicles. The 30-foot heavy duty transit buses, which combine a conventional internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system, were purchased using federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) competitive grant funds. This funding is allocated by the U.S. Department of Transportation for projects that reduce on-road congestion and on- or off-road emissions, thereby improving air quality. The new buses replaced three diesel-engine buses that were more than 13 years old and that had collectively driven more than 2 million miles.
Federal Biodiesel Tax Credit Given Five-Year Extension
In December, President Trump signed into law a new budget deal that includes a five-year extension, retroactive to its expiry on December 31, 2017, of the biodiesel mixture excise tax credit. Reinstatement of the tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel, which now runs through December 31, 2022, was part of two federal spending bills totaling $1.4 trillion and represents the credit’s longest duration since it first went into effect in 2005 as a result of the American JOBS Creation Act. Blenders that are registered with the IRS may be eligible for the tax incentive in the amount of $1.00 per gallon of pure biodiesel, agri-biodiesel, or renewable diesel blended with petroleum diesel to produce a mixture containing at least 0.1% diesel fuel.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding Opportunity for Advanced Vehicle Technologies
U.S. DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) recently announced a funding opportunity for projects in the following transportation areas: batteries and electrification; advanced combustion engines and fuels; materials technology; energy efficient mobility systems; technology integration; and transportation and energy analysis. The funding opportunity further specifies several areas of interest (AOI), which interested parties should review here.

With regard to electrification, energy efficient mobility systems, and technology integration, applicants may apply for funding under the following relevant AOIs:
  • AOI 3 – Utility Managed Smart Charging Research and Demonstration
  • AOI 9 – Improving Transportation System Efficiency Through Better Utilization
  • AOI 10 – Enabling Vehicle and Infrastructure Connectivity
  • AOI 11 – Improving Mobility, Affordability, and Energy Efficiency Through Transit
  • AOI 12 - Gaseous Fuels Technology Demonstration Projects
  • AOI 13 - Alternative Fuel Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets
  • AOI 14 - Electric Vehicle and Charging Community Partner Projects
  • AOI 15 - Technology Integration Open Topic (only Clean Cities Coalitions may apply as the primary recipient under this AOI)
Eligible applicants include State, local, and tribal governmental entities; individuals; for-profit entities; educational institutions; and nonprofits. Additional eligibility restrictions apply to select AOIs. More information can be found within the Eligibility Information section of the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Projects submitted under AOI 12-14 are encouraged to partner with a U.S. DOE Clean Cities Coalition. There are two Clean Cities Coalitions in Tennessee, known collectively as Tennessee Clean Fuels. Applicants must submit a concept paper to VTO by 5:00 PM ET, February 21. Those invited to submit full applications following review of the concept papers must do so by 5:00 PM ET, April 14Click here to learn more and apply.

DERA Clean Diesel National Grants
Each year, the U.S. EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program allocates funds nationwide to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from older diesel engines. In 2020, U.S. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $44 Million in DERA grant funding to eligible applicants across the country. The maximum amount of federal funding that may be requested per application varies by region. Tennessee applicants, in EPA Region 4, are eligible to request up to $2 Million in grant funds per project. Eligible applicants include:
  • Regional, State, local, or tribal agencies/consortia or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality;
  • Nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or have the promotion of transportation or air quality as their principal purpose; and
  • School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities, and counties, to the extent that they fall within the bulleted definitions above.
Eligible applicants include State, local, and tribal governmental entities; individuals; for-profit entities; educational institutions; and nonprofits. Additional eligibility restrictions apply to select AOIs. More information can be found within the Eligibility Information section of the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Grant funds may be used for clean diesel projects such as EPA- and/or CARB-verified technologies or certified engine retrofits; idle-reduction technologies; aerodynamic technologies and low-rolling resistance tires; and engine, vehicle, or equipment replacements. Eligible diesel vehicles, engines, and equipment include school buses; class 5-8 heavy-duty highway vehicles; locomotive engines; marine engines; and non-road equipment used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production. Replacement projects can include the replacement of highway and non-road diesel vehicles/equipment with new, cleaner diesel, hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles/equipment such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, or zero tailpipe emissions technologies such as battery or fuel cell vehicles where applicable. Funds under this program cannot be used to fund emission reductions mandated by federal law.
Applications for the Clean Diesel National Grants are due to U.S. EPA by February 26 at 11:59 PM ET. To apply, visit For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit
2020 IDEA Program to Fund Transportation Innovations
The Transportation Research Board has opened solicitations for the 2020 Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) program, which offers early stage research funding for promising but unproven safety and performance innovations pertaining to highways, transit, and rail. Topics include methods for rapid measurement of environmental impacts of transportation projects; technologies for recycling and reusing materials; methods and technologies for improved mobility in transit systems; and methods for delivering equitable, accessible, and environmentally responsible transit services. Click here to read the full program announcement. Highway IDEA program proposals are due March 15, and Transit IDEA proposals are due May 1.
FTA Low-No Program Funding for Transit Buses
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced the opportunity for eligible applicants to apply for up to $130 million in competitive grant funds through its Low or No Emissions (Low-No) Bus Program. FTA’s Low-No Program helps project sponsors purchase or lease zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, and can support the acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities. Eligible applicants for this opportunity include direct recipients of FTA grants under the Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula program, states, local governmental authorities, and Indian Tribes. Application instructions can be found on FTA’s website at; proposals must be submitted by March 17.

Tennessee’s urbanized area transit agencies may use State match funds in combination with the Low-No Program through the TDOT Office of Public Transportation, Division of Multimodal Transportation Resources. To do so, such agencies must complete and submit advanced State match request forms, as specified under the IMPROVE Act. 

Proposals for funding eligible projects in rural (non-urbanized) areas must be submitted as part of a consolidated state proposal. Interested transit agencies in non-urbanized areas are encouraged to contact TDOT’s Kaitlyn McClanahan directly at

U.S. DOT 2020 Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program
U.S. DOT has made $454.6 million available through the Grants for Bus Facilities Program to assist in the financing of buses and bus facilities capital projects, including the replacement, rehabilitation, purchase, or lease of buses or related equipment as well as the rehabilitation, purchase, construction, or lease of bus-related facilities. Eligible applicants include direct recipients of FTA grants under the Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula program, fixed route bus operators (including local governments), State agencies, and Indian tribes. Proposals must be submitted by March 30, and agencies intending to apply should initiate the process of registering on GRANTS.GOV to ensure completion of registration prior to the submission deadline. Click here for more information, or contact Mark G. Bathrick at
TAEBC Annual Meeting
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) will hold its annual meeting at the Schneider Electric Hub in Franklin on March 5. Speakers will include TDEC Commissioner David Salyers and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe as well as representatives from TDEC OEP, TVA, Shell, and Weiss Associates. Presenters will discuss a variety of advanced energy topics, including sustainable energy, transportation electrification, net-zero emissions, and more. Click here to register for the annual meeting. 
2020 National Shared Mobility Summit
The Shared-Use Mobility Center is holding the 2020 National Shared Mobility Summit in Chicago from March 17-19. Public and private sector leaders, innovators, and advocates will collaborate with an aim to achieve equitable, accessible, affordable, and clean mobility. Attendees will hear about the latest innovations, strategies, policies, and plans; collaborate in hands-on sessions, workshops, and panels; and engage in several opportunities for networking and partnership building. Click here to register for the summit.
2020 Tennessee Environmental Conference
The Tennessee Environmental Conference, now in its nineteenth year, will be hosted at the Meadowview Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport from March 23-25. The conference will feature more than 40 presenters from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors addressing the latest trends, practices, and policies aimed at preserving the state’s natural resources, balancing growth, improving human health, fostering sustainability and innovation, supporting ecotourism, and protecting the environment. TDEC Commissioner David Salyers will deliver the keynote address, and representatives from Drive Electric Tennessee and Tennessee Clean Fuels will provide an update on ongoing efforts to drive electric vehicle adoption in the state. Click here to register. Click here to view the draft agenda.
Nominations Open for 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, which honor outstanding accomplishments that support the protection and enhancement of Tennessee’s natural resources.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2020 awards, which include the following categories: Building Green; Clean Air; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach (for both school and non-school projects); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance; and Lifetime Achievement. For 2020, the program has also added three new award categories: Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources, and Water Quality.

The use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, or other sustainable transportation projects could be eligible for an award under several categories, including Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources, or Agriculture and Forestry. Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible for nomination, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2019 calendar year. A panel of judges will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is March 31, and winners will be announced in May. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.

Clean Cities Coalitions 2018 Activity Report
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released the Clean Cities Coalitions 2018 Activity Report, which summarizes the success and impact of coalition activities based on data and information provided in annual progress reports. Clean Cities is a network of nearly 100 coalitions around the country that bring stakeholders in the private and public sectors together to promote and utilize alternative and renewable fuels, idling reduction measures, fuel economy improvements, and advanced vehicle technologies. In 2018, NREL found that the Clean Cities program reported its highest cumulative annual energy use impact yet, reducing over one billion gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) via the adoption of clean transportation technologies by Clean Cities stakeholders across the country. Since the program’s inception, the Clean Cities program has reported an energy use impact of nearly 10 billion GGEs reduced and more than 52 million tons of emissions avoided. Clean Cities activities in Tennessee are carried out by Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels and East Tennessee Clean Fuels (collectively known as Tennessee Clean Fuels). To learn more about the mission and achievements of the Clean Cities program, click here.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.