U.S. Federal Government
Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) funds research and development relating to low and zero-emission transportation solutions, including providing funding for fleet demonstration projects. Particular areas of DOE interest include:

  • Hydrogen fuel cells
  • Development and demonstrations of transit buses using hydrogen fuel cells
  • Development and demonstrations of vehicles using hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) technology
  • Development of technologies and systems for hydrogen delivery and storage
  • Development and demonstrations of advanced rail systems including MAGLEV

In 2005, the U.S. Congress passed a major multi-year transportation funding bill called "SAFETEA-LU," which provides $286.4 billion in guaranteed funding for federal highway and transit programs through fiscal year 2009.  This total includes $52.6 billion allocated for transit programs, the majority of which is distributed to transit agencies across the U.S. for purchases of transit buses and supporting infrastructure.  Buses using zero-emission transportation technologies qualify for a higher percent cost share than conventional diesel buses, providing transit agencies with an incentive to adopt zero-emission technologies.

The DOT also has several programs that promote development, demonstration, and use of low and zero-emission transportation solutions.  These include:

  • Clean Fuels Grant Program
  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (“CMAQ”)
  • National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Initiative

The largest of the programs is CMAQ, which provides approximately $1 billion/year in funding.  The Clean Fuels Grant Program provides $43-51 million/year in funding, and the National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Initiative provides $11-13.5 million/year.  The DOT also allocates $22-27 million/year to its “Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands Program,” which favors low and zero-emission transportation solutions.

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