Tennessee Awarded $16.2 Million for Bus and Vehicle Replacements
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $16.2 million to TDOT for the replacement of 25 buses and 279 demand response vehicles at 10 transit agencies across the state. Currently, 54% of Tennessee’s transit vehicle population is operating past the vehicles’ useful life expectancy; vehicle replacements under this grant will reduce that number to 31%. The vehicle replacements are also expected to reduce transit emissions by taking older, dirtier vehicles off of Tennessee roads. Click here to learn more.
Rural Transportation Electrification in the Upper Cumberland Region
U.S. DOE recently awarded nearly $800,000 for a transportation electrification project in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. Research partners from Tennessee Technological University, the University of Texas at Austin, Nissan North America, Lightning Systems, the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, Seven States Power Corporation, ChargePoint, and the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency will work together to demonstrate and evaluate the applications of several electric vehicle types in rural communities within the Upper Cumberland region. Electric technologies tested will include light duty passenger vehicles, a light duty truck, a battery electric transit bus, and a small charging station network. Click here to learn more.
Franklin Special School District Commended for Anti-Idling Policies
Between 2018 and 2019, the Franklin Special School District implemented an anti-idling protocol on its school premises to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality around the schools and in the proximity of students. Some of the protocol’s requirements include limiting idling time of school buses in student pick up lanes to two minutes or less and restricting idling of school buses waiting for students on field trips. These efforts to reduce airborne pollutants on school grounds and improve community and student health has earned FSSD recognition from the Tennessee Air Flags Committee, a group of public health and environmental organizations working to build public awareness about the health impacts of outdoor air pollution and identify solutions to improve air quality.
New Volkswagen Community Grant Program in Tennessee
Volkswagen, TVA, and the Conservation Fund  recently created a community grant program to support local governments, tribal entities, or nonprofits working in eastern Tennessee to promote environmental education, local watershed quality, and outdoor recreation (which could include transportation and mobility projects such as trail development/enhancement and/or improved public access to outdoor recreation resources).Applicants are eligible to receive up to $50,000, and applications are due by February 14. Click here to review the grant application.
U.S. DOE Announces Subtopics for Phase I Release 2 of SBIR and STTR Programs
U.S. DOE recently announced topics for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which help small businesses conduct innovative product research and development. Small businesses that win federal awards in these programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology via future funding rounds.

Recently issued FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 topics address a number of transportation-related items, including electric vehicle batteries, gallium nitride device drive qualification for electric vehicle power electronics, energy efficiency in emerging mobility systems, and multifunctional composite materials and structures for vehicle applications. Letters of intent for the programs are due by January 6. Click here to read the full funding opportunity announcement

2020 Community Bike Challenge Program
The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation is awarding six grants of up to $1,000 in conjunction with its 2020 Community Bike Club Challenge Program. Local bicycle clubs, community bicycle programs, and other not for profit and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that promote bicycling as a safe and healthy form of recreation and transportation.

Projects that demonstrate potential for achieving community-wide impact (e.g., encouragement of new cyclists of all age groups, safe cycling programs, promotion of cycling as a form of family recreation, facilitation of bicycle maintenance in underserved communities, and education for law enforcement and judicial agencies on bicycle-pedestrian legislation, etc.) will receive prioritization for funding. Letters of intent are due by February 1 and full proposals are due by March 15.

REAP to Fund Rural Energy Projects
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. This program helps improve American energy independence by both increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers. Funding for Fiscal Year 2020 is available in a variety of forms, each under its own application process and timeline. Grant applications are due by March 31. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as biomass (biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels); geothermal for electric generation or direct use; hydropower below 30 MW; hydrogen; small and large wind generation; small and large solar generation; and ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation. With regard to transportation, REAP funds may be used for solar-assisted electric vehicle charging stations. Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC); insulation; lighting; cooling or refrigeration units; doors and windows; electric, solar, or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots; switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor; and replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Click here to learn more and to apply for REAP financial assistance. Click here to find the REAP point of contact for your Tennessee region.
Nashville Mayor’s Office of Transportation to Hold Public Listening Sessions
The Nashville and Davidson County Mayor’s Office of Transportation will hold 11 public listening sessions in January and February, which will give the public an opportunity to voice ideas, priorities, and concerns regarding transit and transportation. The Office of Transportation aims to use comments received at these sessions to develop a citywide transportation plan, which will seek to address the city’s most critical transportation needs. The dates and locations of these sessions are as follows:
  • January 9, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Antioch/Hickory Hollow
  • January 16, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Donelson/Music City Star
  • January 23, 6:00 PM-7:30 PM – Bordeaux/Clarksville Pike
  • January 28, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – North Nashville
  • January 30, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Joelton
  • February 6, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – West Nashville
  • February 11, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Bellevue
  • February 18, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM – Downtown
  • February 20, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Green Hills/Hillsboro Pike
  • February 24, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Nolensville/South Nashville
  • February 27, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – East Nashville/Madison
TRB Accepts Presentation Abstracts for Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) seeks proposals for presentations to be included in one of the 25 breakout conference sessions for the 24th National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation, which will be held October 17-21, 2020 in Charleston, SC. Presentations should be of interest to rural and tribal transit managers, human service transportation managers, rural and regional planners, or anyone with an interest in rural transportation, and proposals should address how transportation services impact lives and create measurable benefits in rural and tribal communities. Click here to learn more about the accepted abstract types. TRB will accept presentation abstracts through January 3.
TRB 99th Annual Meeting
TRB will host its 99th Annual Meeting from January 12-16 in Washington, D.C. The meeting program will feature more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. Presentations will address all modes of the transportation sector, including topics that align with the meeting’s 2020 theme, “A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future.” Click here to learn more about the Annual Meeting.
2020 Fuel Economy Guide
U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA recently published the 2020 Fuel Economy Guide, an annually updated resource that provides fuel economy ratings for more than 1,000 types of light-duty vehicles. More information on vehicle efficiency can be found at, a federal government website that helps consumers make informed fuel economy choices when purchasing a new vehicle as well as achieve the best fuel economy possible for the cars they currently own.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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