Vehicle goes green | SierraSun.com

Vehicle goes green

by Nichole DorrThe Recycler

The Town of Truckee just got a little greener. In recent weeks the town received two separate grant awards for a total of $106,860. Grant funding will allow the town to reduce harmful vehicle emissions and expand local waste reduction and recycling programs.

The first grant received from the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSACMD) will purchase a 2006 Ford Escape 4-wheel-drive hybrid vehicle, the first hybrid on the towns fleet. The new vehicle will be used as a primary vehicle to conduct town business, while also serving as a demonstration vehicle to help address many consumer insecurities of hybrid technology regarding durability and longevity. The grant was awarded in the amount of $31,860, but the town will be kicking in some additional funding in order to enhance public education of the need for local vehicle emissions reduction. To develop the public education component of the grant, the town will work in partnership with the air districts Truckee office to create an informational brochure and Web page about the various air quality management issues.For example, did you know that since 1980 California vehicle miles traveled has grown by 120 percent, and now exceeds 873 million miles traveled each day across our state? The Air Resources Board further explains that the harmful health impacts of carbon monoxide, a vehicle emissions pollutant, is increased with altitude and less dense air, and therefore the Lake Tahoe Basin has standards of increased stringency in an effort to protect public health. What about the effects of air pollution on local flora and fauna or even the clarity of Lake Tahoe?Grant funding enhances the towns ability to develop educational materials that will address these and many local air quality issues that affect, or could affect, our health and that of the environment around us. As part of the education effort on air pollution reduction, the town will make available maintenance records on the hybrid in an attempt to demonstrate that hybrid technology is a worthwhile alternative to conventional cars, trucks and SUVs. The hybrid vehicle will also tow the towns special event recycling trailer, as well as appear at local public events for inspection by the public. In addition to a new fuel efficient vehicle, the town has also received grant funding through the Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling (DOC) in the amount of $75,000 to improve public recycling opportunities. The main objectives of this grant include the purchase of new recycling and trash receptacles for Commercial Row and historic downtown, and recycling bins for schools, public parks, recreation areas and businesses. Grant funding will also be used to purchase blue bags for distribution to residents. Details on how to obtain your free blue bags will be forthcoming. This grant was supported by the Town of Truckee, Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal Company, Tahoe-Donner Recreation & Park District, North Tahoe Business Association and Nevada County Department of Transportation and Sanitation.The town will be working in partnership with these organizations on the design of the new downtown recycling containers. Do you have an idea to share with us? The new containers need to be functional (shed snow, while protecting recyclables from weather), animal resistant, aesthetically pleasing, and meet historic preservation guidelines. If you would like to submit a design for consideration, please provide me with a drawing or photograph and I will present it to our working group. The working group will be meeting throughout the winter to identify and purchase the new bins for the downtown area. Comments and suggestions from the community are welcome.The DOC grant award more than doubles the current allocation of funding set forth by the town for the enhancement of local recycling activities. The town was selected as one of 17 grant recipients in the state, from an application pool of about 200.If you have questions regarding these grant awards or local solid waste or recycling programs, contact Nichole Dorr at 582-2909 or ndorr@townoftruckee.com.