Wisconsin initiates grant program for idle-reduction equipment

| 6/16/2006

Officials in Wisconsin are gearing up for the start of a grant program that could make it easier for truckers in the state to afford anti-idling technology.

The state’s Department of Commerce is currently writing the rules necessary to administer the grants, which were made possible under Act 25 of Gov. Jim Doyle’s 2005 budget.

Under the program, the Commerce Department will provide grants to both fleets and owner-operators headquartered in Wisconsin to purchase and install idle-reduction technology, such as an auxiliary power unit, for 1999 or newer model-year trucks.

Eligible applicants will receive a reimbursement of 70 percent of the costs of idle-reduction equipment and installation, according to information on the Commerce Department’s Web site.

The program will award $1 million per year in grants through June 2011. Seventy-five percent of that money will be allocated to fleets, and 25 percent will be designated specifically for owner-operators and small-fleet owners who own and operate 50 or fewer trucks.

Trucks do not have to be base plated in Wisconsin to be eligible for the program – the company that owns them merely needs to be headquartered in the state.

According to the Commerce Department, applications will be available starting July 1. No grants will be awarded for equipment purchased before this date.

Joe Rajkovacz, regulatory affairs specialist for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told “Land Line Now” it’s important for owner-operators who are interested in the grants to apply as close as possible to the July 1 starting date, in order to guarantee that the 25 percent meant for individuals remains out of the hands of the larger fleets.

“The state is setting aside 25 percent of the $1 million specifically for small fleets and owner-operators,” Rajkovacz said. “Of course, the rest of the money is anticipated to be gobbled up by a few larger entities within the state.”

For more information, or to download an application after the July 1 start date, visit the Wisconsin Department of Commerce’s Web site at commerce.wi.gov/BD/BD-CA-Diesel-Grant-Program.html.

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer