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Administrator Johnson, Texas Smart Way Transportation Grants, College Station, TX

    In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and with the recent high costs of diesel and gasoline, energy is on everyone's mind.

    Last month, President Bush called upon each and every American to do their part in preserving the nation’s energy resources and helping the hurricane recovery effort - ensuring that the areas hit hardest will have the energy supplies they need for relief and restoration.

    By taking common-sense actions, all of us do our part to conserving the amount of fuel we use … both at work and at home.

    When combined, small individual actions made by every American can produce significant results.

    The President has directed the federal government to take the lead in conserving energy – which is why I am with you today. I am pleased to announce a series of grants that will help conserve fuel, reduce emissions and save money for our trucking industry.

    When I fill up my car, I notice when the cost of gas rises or lowers even a penny. You can imagine how closely those prices are monitored by those whose very livelihoods depend on driving.

    The freight industry is part of the lifeblood of the American economy. Fuel costs have a direct impact on those who transport goods … add to the cost of doing business … and finally, effect all of us as consumers.

    More than 3.18 trillion ton-miles of freight were moved over the nation’s domestic transportation system – with around 33 percent traveling over our roads and highways.

    With all of this driving, safety is a paramount concern … and a big part of trucking is getting drivers the rest they need to be fully alert at the wheel. Getting enough sleep is critical to being productive at any job.

    My wife tells me that I get cranky when I stay up later than I should – it’s a good thing I’m not driving cross country for a living.

    Today alone, over one-half million trucks will idle in order to for the drivers to rest.

    While necessary, extended idling by commercial trucks represents a significant use of our petroleum resources, consuming over 2 billion gallons per year.

    However, much of this oil consumption could be avoided by installing idle-reduction technologies, such as the ones that will benefit from the $5-million in grant money we are awarding throughout the country.

    These grants will go to set up some of the most innovative programs ever announced.

    For example, one award will establish a no-interest loan for small trucking businesses interested in buying mobile idle reduction technologies.

    Another award will work with truck manufacturers to install mobile devices at the factory level which will reduce the costs and allow greater deployment of these devices.

    I am pleased to be here with Texas A&M President, Dr. Gates, and Mr. Richardson, the Director of the Texas Transportation Institute to award this $3-million Smart Way Transportation grant.

    This funding will be used to install over 300 “truck stop electrification units” throughout the state. Instead of trucks idling all night long, these units will allow drivers to pull over and plug in their trucks for air conditioning, heat and electrical use.

    Idling not only wastes money, it impacts our health and environment by emitting the airborne contaminants that contribute to soot and smog.

    We anticipate that these grant awards will result in a fuel savings of over 15 million gallons, saving the trucking industry almost $45 million over the life of the project.

    In addition, we will be able to reduce 125-thousand tons of carbon dioxide, 3-thousand tons of nitrogen oxides, and 70 tons of particulate matter – helping us all to breath a little easier.

    Finally, our $5 million in grants will leverage an additional $5 million from industry sources, achieving a fair and balanced approach with government resources.

    These are huge numbers – for our energy conservation effort … our environmental and physical health … and for our economy.

    I am proud EPA is involved in this vital collaboration, and we look forward to environmental and business successes ahead.

    Thank you.