Cash for Ontario’s green truckers

OTTAWA — Attention, Ontario-based owner-operators. The provincial government is giving out money and it’s time to get in on it.

The Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) has issued a statement encouraging all owner-operators to take advantage of Ontario’s Green Commercial Vehicle Program (GCVP), and applications for grants went online Friday.

OBAC is suggesting owner-operators “who want to take advantage of the program file their application forms with the Ministry of Transportation as quickly as they can.”

It’s part of the province’s Go Green Action Plan, which was launched in August 2007 in an effort to encourage various anti-idle technologies, as well as hybrid and alternative-fuel technologies.

According to OBAC, of the $15 million set aside for commercial vehicles, only $2.9 million is earmarked for idle-reduction devices. The province says it may vary those amounts, at its discretion, based on policy or program considerations.

The grants are available to Ontario-based fleets and owner-operators who do at least 20 percent of their miles in the province, run qualified and certified equipment, and who have excellent or satisfactory CVOR records or "good" commercial vehicle driver records.

The ministry will accept applications until Jan. 31, 2009, for eligible green technology acquisitions made after August 2007.

"We’re glad to see the province helping truckers reduce their carbon footprint, but we’re a little disappointed in the amount of money set aside for technologies likely to be used by owner-operators," says OBAC’s executive director, Joanne Ritchie.

"The per-unit allowance of roughly one-third of the purchase price is in line with a similar program offered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) several years ago, but the Commercial Transportation Energy Efficiency Rebate handed out $8 million across Canada over two years. I don’t think Ontario’s $2.9 million is going to last four years."

The NRCan program put 8,800 cab heaters into service, along with 2,500 coolant heaters, 3,300 combo kits (cab heater plus coolant heater), and 2,600 APUs.

In total, 17,579 units were placed through the rebate program at a total cost to the government of $7.9 million. Industry invested about $39.5 million in idle-reduction technology as part of the rebate program.

Links to the GCVP application forms and other information can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Transportation‘s website. The forms can also be downloaded from OBAC’s website.

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