EPA announces first diesel retrofit grant winners

And predictably, the money is going to public agencies, the Ohio Department of Development and the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners. These are the grants for diesel emissions clean up technology funded from the stimulus bill, aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Pollution is pollution, regardless of whether it comes from a public or private source. But one of the criticisms of the ARRA grant program was that it didn’t give contractors in the private sector enough time or resources to apply for the funds, barely 30 days from the announcement to the deadline. And private fleets had to partner with an association, non profit or public agency to qualify. Public agencies, with their government connections and bureaucratic skills are better equipped to jump through such hoops.

This, naturally, set off a mad scramble and it will be interesting to see over time how much of this money goes to private contractors vs. public fleet owners. A close analysis of the stimulus bill reveals that most of the money is just one government agency giving it to another government agency–hardly a good prescription for stimulating the economy.