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September 05, 2013  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

On the quest for green dollars

For fleets struggling to find the funds to buy alt-fuel vehicles, there is money available. The key to getting it is to formulate a plan, build relationships and pay attention to the details.

by Chris Wolski


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Vouchers becoming popular
There can be little argument that pursuing a grant can be a time-consuming and complex process. But, there is another option that Van Amburg says CALSTART has been vocally supporting: vouchers.

The process is simple and is handled directly by the dealer. If the fleet qualifies, it’ll get a vehicle for half or more of the incremental amount. The dealer is reimbursed by the state, in this case California, for the difference.

While the voucher system eliminates much of the time-consuming grant writing process, it has another advantage for fleets. It eliminates the timing issue that can derail a fleet’s grant.

“The vouchers can get secured at your time of order, and they’re going to be held until the time you’ve paid for the vehicle. It doesn’t really matter what your fiscal timing is,” Van Amburg explains.

Funding and consequences
Typically, a grant requires a certain amount of reporting or other requirements, which, as mentioned previously, are often fairly straightforward and crucial. If there is a lack of compliance, this could jeopardize the fleet receiving the balance of the grant money.

“The funder can even go after the money they’ve given you, because you didn’t do what was required for the grant,” Van Amburg warns.

Long term, this could mean that the fleet may not get funding in the future.

“If you have a bad reputation among funders, you won’t qualify. This is usually as a result of a bad audit or non-compliance,” Van Amburg says.
However, this scenario is very rare. “Most people are pretty careful,” he adds.    

Chris Wolski is associate editor for Green Fleet magazine, a sister magazine of SCHOOL BUS FLEET, published by Bobit Business Media. This article originally appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of Green Fleet.


Getting a grant starts with a plan
Step 1: Baseline fleet.
Step 2: Learn your fuel and tech options.
Step 3: Compare options to fleet mix – geography, operation, etc.
Step 4: Outline alt-fuel implementation plan over several years.
Step 5: Understand cost and then seek funding.
(Source: CALSTART)

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Read more about: alternative fuels

Great Article.....Nice Job Bill Van Amburg! People have to understand there are many ways to find funds to help the pay for that new tech bus. Under every rock you can find dollars to help support your project. "Building long-term relationships" is a must! You need both dollars and support letters from some of the best people. You need the people like Breathe California, American Lung, Clean Citiesmany, and many others to help the cause. It is some times not easy to get the foot in the door for funds.....but once you get there the hard work will pay off. It does not stop there, you to keep moving foward for the next year to have the funds lined up and ready. It is a lot of work.....but you will see you hand work in new clean buses on the road! Ralph Knight Napa Valley Unified SD www.nvusd.k12.ca.us/transportation

Ralph Knight    |    Sep 06, 2013 12:09 PM

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