Thank you, John Formisano, John Boesel and CALSTART, for organizing this important gathering of leaders from business, the auto industry, utilities and government as we move forward to create green jobs and promote a cleaner planet. And thank you all for what you do. You prove that being in favor of the economy and the environment are not mutually exclusive.
Welcome to Baltimore – what the Ford Motor Company named one of the “Top 25 Electric Vehicle-Ready Cities in the U.S.”
And thank you for the opportunity to address your conference today. I’m going to talk about the future of hybrid and electric heavy vehicles here in the State of Maryland, and to announce two important new initiatives we’re launching today.
In August, the Obama administration announced the new standards for more fuel-efficient trucks and buses, requiring a 10 to 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption and a 12 to 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. But you here at the Hybrid Truck Users Forum have already been hard at work on this, and for that I’d like to congratulate and thank you for advancing the technologies of tomorrow, today. It is not easy bringing together leaders and comparing the progress of busy fleets – but you’re doing it.
Here in Baltimore, the Ravens have a great free safety by the name of Ed Reed. Last year, he led the NFL in interceptions despite only playing in 10 games. The reason he’s done so well is because he’s able to read the quarterback, to anticipate and move in the right direction before anyone else.
The same applies in your industry as well. Time and again, the greatest innovators are also the greatest anticipators – the ones who move forward before market pressures or new standards tell them they have to.
Here in the State of Maryland, we’re doing a lot to promote hybrid and electric heavy vehicles. Here’s what’s new:
Through the Maryland Energy Administration and our Department of Transportation, today we’re announcing the Electric Truck Voucher, a pilot program that offers a $20,000 voucher to purchase a commercial, 100% electric, zero-emission heavy vehicle.
This initiative will lower the cost of choosing clean electric trucks over diesel vehicles, providing drivers and fleets with a quicker return on their green investments, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need for fossil fuels.
The voucher applies to electric trucks purchased and titled in the State of Maryland, with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds. It will be up and running within the next month.
The Maryland Department of Environment is also supporting three diesel emission reduction projects – and here at the Hybrid Truck Users Forum, we’re announcing the newest one:
The Maryland Idle Reduction Grant Program will provide financial assistance to cover the cost of equipment and installation for on-board idle reduction technologies. These technologies include: auxiliary power units, fuel operated heaters, automatic stop-start systems, electric truck refrigeration units, as well as several others.
Vouchers will be used to reduce half of the installed equipment costs, up to a maximum of $4,000 per truck, and go to the dealer through the reimbursement process, as to minimize the up-front cost to the truck owner.
This federally funded public-private partnership is led by the Maryland Energy Administration, the Department of Environment and the Maryland Motor Truck Association.
This new Idle Reduction grant is up and running as of today – this is literally its first day – for on-highway class 6 to class 8 trucks registered in Maryland. We urge you to apply now.
We also encourage you to take advantage of our Mid-Atlantic Dray Truck Replacement Program.
In Maryland, our Port is an economic engine, and we believe it can do healthy business while also keeping the air and water around it healthy. To do this, we’ve coordinated with other states to offer financial support to fleets with older, more polluting short-haul trucks – known as ‘dray trucks’ – that serve the Ports of Baltimore, Virginia, Philadelphia and Wilmington, and replace them with newer, cleaner vehicles.
The Dray Truck program, supported by a $3.3 million grant from the EPA, offers qualified applicants a $20,000 down payment towards the purchase of trucks that meet more stringent emissions standards. Based on similar clean truck programs that are sweeping the country, we believe the Dray Truck program will remove some of the oldest, dirtiest trucks from the fleets that serve these ports.
We also take part in the Metropolitan Washington Anti-idling and Driver Recognition Program.
Managed by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and developed using federal funds, the initiative coordinates multi-state efforts to increase awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of diesel idle reduction.
This past summer, we deployed street teams at various locations to speak with motorcoach and truck drivers, nominate the ones who deserved to be rewarded for doing the right thing, and educate others on idling laws with printed materials. In all, more than 200 drivers were nominated through the program in fiscal year 2011, with 7 drivers selected as winners, receiving gift certificates donated by program sponsors.
We’re also spearheading the Maryland Hybrid Truck Goods Movement Initiative – M.H.T.G.M.I., or as we pronounce it: ‘Mighty.’
Funded through President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ‘Mighty’ aims to curb emissions, reduce petroleum consumption and provide enhanced economic benefit in the movement of local goods.
This is another public-private partnership between the Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Clean Cities, and several private fleets – companies like ARAMARK, Efficiency Enterprises, Nestle Waters of North America, the Sysco Corporation and UPS. All told, ‘Mighty’ will form the largest collaborative hybrid truck project in the nation, and serve as a model for similar projects around the country.
The goals of Mighty are to purchase and deploy 143 Freightliner hybrid vehicles, while creating and retaining 60 highly skilled jobs in distressed local economies, all the while reducing the toxins in our air and water.
So far, 101 of those vehicles have been delivered and driven a cumulative 295,000 miles, saving more than 8,200 gallons of fuel and preventing 7.81 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. And so far, the program has generated the equivalent of 41 full-time jobs.
We’re also deploying Hybrid Buses through the Maryland Transit Administration. The MTA currently operates 193 hybrid local buses and is expecting 57 more in the next 5 months. With these new buses, the size of MTA’s hybrid fleet will increase to 250 buses, which will represent 35% of the active fleet.
In addition, over the last year, the MTA has increased the number of its Diesel Electric Hybrid buses to 42. We’ve found the advantages of a hybrid fleet to be significant. With the current diesel fleet, major road calls occur once about every 5,700 miles. With the hybrid fleet, they occur once about every 18,500. Hybrid fuel mileage is 20% higher, brake life is 25% longer, and they are found to be 50% quieter than diesels.
For these reasons, our Maryland Transit Administration expects to operate a fully hybrid fleet by 2018.
That is what we’re doing in hybrid and electric heavy vehicles and buses, but as I close, I’d also like to mention 4 things we’re doing in hybrid and electric passenger vehicles – because the places where hybrid and electric passenger vehicles are moving forward are the places where hybrid and electric heavy trucks and buses will follow.
1. I drove here this afternoon in a hybrid vehicle made by General Motors, who are manufacturing their next generation of electric drive motors right near here in White Marsh, creating 800 jobs for moms and dads in our State.
2. In 2010, we created the Electric Vehicle Tax Credit, a three-year program, estimated to benefit some 1,250 consumers with a credit of up to $2,000.
3. Maryland ranks among the top 8 states in the nation for electric vehicle charging stations, while we’ve also increased our investments in wind, solar and other forms of clean energy. In fact, a little more than two months ago, we launched our first sun-tracking electric vehicle charging station in Bethesda– solar energy powering electric vehicles.
4. Last spring, the Maryland legislature codified our plan for the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council – one of the first states to do so – which will soon report back on how we can successfully integrate electric vehicles into Maryland’s communities and transportation system.
We do this because we value the hybrid and electric engines of the future, and know the importance of green jobs for our economy.
We’ve partnered with the Obama administration and our community colleges to use $5.8 million in ARRA funds to give more than 2,000 Marylanders with training for green jobs. And in solar energy, we’ve created over 1,000 new jobs in an industry that barely existed 5 years ago.
In conclusion, those of us from Maryland here have just three words for you: We get it. Bring your businesses here. Expand your businesses here. We’re not afraid to ask. Maryland is the State for business leaders who think like Ed Reed, who are so on the ball, they catch it even when it’s not being thrown to them.
Why choose Maryland? Because no other state in America has the same combination of location, workforce, and world-class facilities.
Maryland is home to America’s #1 best public school system, so says Education Week magazine for three years in a row. We therefore have one of our country’s most highly skilled workforces.
We also have an excellent transportation infrastructure, which includes easy access to three major airports and the world class Port of Baltimore.
We are recognized by the Milken Institute as being one of the Top 2 States for Science and Technology. The Kauffman Index puts us in the Top 3 for our ability to win in the New Economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says we’re a Top 5 State for growth. Forbes Magazine says we’re one of America’s 14 best states for business. And Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s have all affirmed our Triple A Bond Rating – only 8 states can say that.
Overall, Maryland is a State that is focused on the future, on the jobs of tomorrow, and willing to invest in what moves our State forward.
Thank you for your invitation to speak here today, and thank you for coming.