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Lessons Learned from the Mid-Atlantic Dray Truck Replacement Program September 2016: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association (MARAMA) received a $3.9 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce diesel emissions affecting communities affected by diesel truck traffic serving ports in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The project was active from 2010 through 2014 and supported the replacement of over 200 old diesel trucks with newer, cleaner trucks.

The Program provided down payments to owners of container trucks providing port drayage service to make the voluntary replacement of their trucks affordable and to help owners obtain loans to finance the cost of the replacement trucks.  Areas served included the Port of Virginia, the Port of Baltimore, the Port of Philadelphia, and the Port of Wilmington, Delaware.  Each of these ports is located in areas with poor air quality for ozone and fine particulates.  Diesel particulate has been identified as a carcinogen, and drayage trucks tend to be among the oldest trucks on the road with some of the highest emissions.

MARAMA leveraged additional in-kind resources and funding for the program through cooperation with port agencies, carriers, truck vendors, scrap yards, trucking companies, and financing entities.  MARAMA worked cooperatively with the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center to administer the program.  External funding, active stakeholder outreach, and a collaborative approach helped to increase the effectiveness of the program.

Support of the participating port agencies was essential.  MARAMA’s program built on experience with the Port of Virginia’s Green Operator Program and the Maryland Port Administration’s Green Port initiative.  The energy and cooperative relationships developed in the MARAMA program led to spinoff programs and grants obtained by the Philadelphia Clean Air Council and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The Maryland Port Administration and the Virginia Port Authority continue to operate replacement programs, and MARAMA has applied for additional EPA grant funding.

With program management and administrative support from Virginia Clean Cities, Gloucester County Public Schools (GCPS) replaced five 16 – 17 year old diesel school buses with propane school buses meeting 2010 emission standards. This was the first propane bus program in Virginia and it was part of the larger Clean School Bus USA Middle Peninsula Project.

According to GCPS School Board Chairperson, Anne Burruss, “The positive impact on cost savings, morale of both drivers and students, the benefits realized from a safety standpoint are major plusses in our purchase of the propane buses … As a School Board member, it was and continues to be, a source of great pride in being first in the Commonwealth of Virginia for these vehicles to be in a school bus fleet.”

MARAMA supported this project with a grant from the the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), funding 50 percent of the bus purchase cost plus 100 percent of the cost of diagnostic equipment and parts to assist in servicing the new propane buses. Gloucester County Public Schools provided the remaining funding.

In replacing propulsion and auxiliary engines dating back to the Ford Administration in its tug Bering Sea, K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. is providing emission reduction benefits to ports and the residential and commercial areas surrounding them that experience disproportionate air pollution impacts from marine vessels. Over the project period, K-Sea procured and installed two new propulsion engines and two new auxiliary engines, all model-year 2011, EPA Tier II, to replace the model year 1975 pre-regulation engines.


K-Sea’s conservative scheduling of 14 months for the project permitted flexibility in scheduling the engine replacements at a time that was least disruptive to operations and allowed the project to remain on schedule despite the installation delay caused by Hurricane Irene in late August 2011 and the flooding after-effects in September.

K-Sea expects the Bering Sea’s operations to be approximately 50% in the Philadephia area, 25% in the upper Chesapeake Bay, and 25% in the Hampton Roads area.

MARAMA supported this project with a DERA grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA). K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. provided additional funding assistance.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association, Inc. (MARAMA) $1.3 million for clean diesel projects as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) and its ongoing campaign to reduce harmful diesel exhaust that can lead to asthma attacks and premature deaths.

Grant funds repowered three marine vessels and retrofited drayage trucks. Award recipients were selected based on potential for maximizing health and environmental benefits by targeting areas that have significant air quality issues. Reduced air pollution from diesel engines in these areas can have a direct and significant impact on public health.

Image provided by: Northeast Diesel Collaborative

Small Construction Contractors Retrofit Program

With funding from The Allegheny County Health Department and The Heinz Endowments, this program will provide grants to eligible and approved small business construction companies seeking assistance with the cost of emission reduction technologies. Small construction companies with a majority of their business operations over the past three years in Allegheny County and/or the City of Pittsburgh are encouraged to apply.


MARAMA anticipates funding 16 to 30 projects at $10,000 to $100,000 per project. Grant funding will support up to 75% of the cost of repowers and up to 100% of the cost of retrofitting equipment with diesel approved emission reduction technology. Emission reductions will be determined based on the type of projects funded.

Program Application:

For more information on the program and to apply please check out the program page.

For applications, please email Rick Gordon: rgordon @

Construction Equipment Retrofit Resources:

For more information about retrofitting construction equipment please check out the construction equipment retrofit resources page.

Image provided by: Northeast Diesel Collaborative

CSX Transportation (CSXT) repowered a switchyard locomotive (switcher) from a single model year 1984 engine to a multi-engine genset locomotive. The locomotive which, prior to the repower operated with a single Tier 0 (pre-regulatory) engine, now operates with three smaller, cleaner non-road derived engines certified to EPA Tier 3 non-road standards.

The repower allows the locomotive to run more efficiently, which results in much lower annual emissions and significant diesel fuel savings.

CSXT has committed to operating the repowered switch locomotive in and around the Baltimore non-attainment area, primarily at the CSXT Curtis Bay yard in Baltimore, MD, for a minimum of five years.

MARAMA supported this project with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CSXT provided additional funding assistance.

Benefits and Methods for Reducing Idling

Driver comfort is essential to the job of trucking, and sometimes truck drivers must run their engines to stay warm or cool in their trucks while resting. But long-duration idling is also costly to the driver, to the fleet owner, and to the environment.

In extreme weather conditions, truck drivers must idle, but there are Idle Reduction Technologies (IRTs) devices that allow operators to shut down the main propulsion engine by using a device.

Idle Reduction Technologies devices allow engine operators to reduce long-duration idling of the main propulsion engine by using an alternative technology.

An IRT device generally has the following three main characteristics:

  • Is installed on a vehicle (e.g., bus, truck, locomotive, automobile, marine vessel, equipment, etc.) or at a location;
  • Reduces unnecessary main engine idling of the vehicle or equipment; and/or
  • Provides services (e.g., heat, air conditioning, and/or electricity) to the vehicle or equipment that would otherwise require the operation of the main drive engine while the vehicle or equipment is temporarily parked or remains stationary.

Benefits from reducing long-duration idling include:

  • Decreasing fuel costs,
  • Decreasing engine maintenance costs;
  • Extending engine life;
  • Improving operator well-being by decreasing noise levels; and
  • Decreasing emissions that are harmful to the environment.

To learn more about idle reduction please visit the EPA website: