DFW Clean Cities recognizes leaders in fuel efficiency
DFW Clean Cities recently recognized 19 partners for their work to embrace alternatives to traditional gasoline as part of the third annual Fleet Recognition Awards. Three levels of awards – Gold, Silver and Bronze – were possible.
The cities of Carrolton, Denton, Euless, Grapevine, Lancaster, Richardson and Southlake, as well as the Town of Addison, earned Silver awards. Eleven entities, the cities of Allen, Coppell, Fort Worth, Lewisville, North Richland Hills, Plano, Rockwall and Wylie, along with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Denton ISD, and the Town of Flower Mound were awarded Bronze status.
Participating governing bodies were required to provide information on their progress via the DFW Clean Cities Annual Report. Entities were scored on a 100-point scale based on their work to embrace clean vehicle technologies, partner with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and DFW Clean Cities, and educate their drivers.
A maximum of 30 points were awarded for emissions reduction, 30 for fuel savings, 20 for partnering with NCTCOG and DFWCC, and 20 for educating drivers and operators. Fleets earning Silver status scored 70-84 points, while Bronze winners received 55-69 points. There were no Gold awardees in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The winners contributed to the region-wide reduction of more than 25 million gallons of gasoline in 2016, which represented the largest savings on record. Alternative fuel vehicles accounted for the vast majority of gallons (97 percent) and greenhouse gas emissions (75 percent) reduced, according to the report. Other contributors were: electric and plug-in vehicles, improvements to fuel economy, hybrids, idle reduction, off-road vehicles and a reduction in vehicle miles traveled. For information on how your fleet may qualify for recognition, visit www.dfwcleancities.org.
$28 million immediately available for vehicle repairs, replacements
Approximately $28 million is immediately available to help qualifying motorists repair or replace vehicles with emissions issues or older vehicles through the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program.
Cedar Hill ISD students help illustrate report
The NCTCOG Transportation Department is partnering with Cedar Hill Independent School District on an art contest to determine the cover design of Progress North Texas 2018, the annual state of the region report.
Ten middle school students submitted artwork illustrating this year’s theme of Healthy Communities: Transportation and the Natural Environment.
The theme will be carried through the document, which uses data to illustrate the performance of the region’s transportation system and the state of its air quality.
This is the seventh year of the art contest, which seeks to involve younger North Texans, those who will be making decisions in 20-25 years, in the transportation discussion. The art contest is one of several NCTCOG efforts connected with schools.
A combination of NCTCOG staff, art teachers and Regional Transportation Council officers will be asked to help determine the winner of the competition. The report will be published this spring and available at www.nctcog.org/ourregion.
Comments sought on HSR draft EIS
The planned Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail project continues to progress toward the goal of providing bullet train service between the State’s two most populous regions.
The Federal Railroad Administration has been conducting public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, including two in the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan planning area in January. There were hearings January 29 in Dallas and January 30 in Ennis. Public comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted until February 20.
The document lays out a preferred alignment with potential stations located in downtown Dallas, Grimes County and north Houston. Texas Central Partners plans to build the line, which would have no grade crossings and be at or above grade for the entire route.
Separate efforts to develop high-speed rail connections between Fort Worth and Dallas, and Oklahoma and South Texas are also underway as planners seek to develop a system of high-speed trains.
The draft EIS is available at www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P1078.
SolSmart making region solar ready
North Texas cities are continuing efforts to turn one of the region’s most abundant resources — sunshine — into an electricity option for consumers. Congratulations to all the North Texas cities that have participated in SolSmart—a national designation and technical assistance program that works with cities to become more solar friendly.
NCTCOG is proud to recognize the cities of Cedar Hill, Kennedale, Denton, Plano, Lewisville and Corinth for participating in the program. The City of Cedar Hill obtained the highest designation of Gold, Kennedale obtained Silver, and Denton, Lewisville and Plano obtained Bronze. The commitment and effort shown by these cities is not only making the region more solar friendly, but is helping to improve air quality. For more about the program or to get involved, visit www.gosolartexas.org/solsmart.
NCTCOG requests input on mobility plan, funding
NCTCOG staff will present an update on Mobility 2045 during public meetings in February. Residents can provide input on Mobility 2045, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan for North Central Texas, as well as several other transportation initiatives at public meetings on February 5 (Arlington), February 7 (Haltom City) and February 13 (Richardson).
Mobility 2045 will define a long-term vision for the region’s transportation system and guide spending of federal and state transportation funds. This includes funding for highways, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and other programs that can reduce congestion and improve air quality. Draft recommendations are expected to be available this spring with RTC action to follow in the summer.
In addition to developing a Metropolitan Transportation Plan, NCTCOG staff is responsible for assisting with funding initiatives and identifying transportation needs. The Sustainable Development Phase 4 Program will be presented for public review and comment. This program awards funding to projects such as transit-oriented development elements and Access North Texas, which documents the transportation needs of older adults, individuals with disabilities and individuals with lower incomes.
Staff will also provide proposed modifications to the FY 2018 and FY 2019 Work Program. The UPWP for regional transportation planning provides a summary of transportation and related air quality planning tasks to be conducted by the metropolitan planning organization within a two-year period. Finally, modifications to the list of funded projects and the AirCheckTexas Program will be highlighted.
Watch the Arlington meeting in real time by clicking the "live" tab at www.nctcog.org/video. A recording of the presentations will also be posted at www.nctcog.org/input.
Applicants who meet income and vehicle guidelines may qualify for up to $3,500 for a vehicle replacement or up to $600 for vehicle repairs. Repair assistance may be available when a vehicle has failed an emissions inspection.
Replacement assistance may be available either following a failed emissions inspection or for a vehicle that is at least 10 years old. Plenty of funding is still available, but is set to run out if there is no further legislative action. Carryover funds of approximately $28 million will allow the program to continue, but only until the end of August 2019.
The AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program is designed to help vehicle owners comply with vehicle emissions standards by offering financial incentives to repair or replace vehicles, and allows local residents to contribute to the regional air quality solution.
Income and vehicle information can be found on the program's newly redesigned website, http://www.airchecktexas.org. Income requirements vary by household size. As an example, a family of four earning $73,800 a year may qualify for assistance.
The program has helped repair more than 34,000 and replace over 33,000 vehicles since its inception in 2001. Vehicle repairs and sales help the local economy as well as the State treasury. An estimated $38.25 million has been generated in motor vehicle sales tax from the replacement vehicles purchased.
High-emitting vehicles are a significant source of ozone precursors, and reducing the number of such vehicles is critical to the region’s strategy to meet federal ozone standards. Lowering ozone levels also positively impact human health, especially for those suffering with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.