February 26, 2007

Federal ecoTransport strategy targets emissions from freight movement, transit, personal vehicles

The federal government has unveiled a multi-pronged ecoTransport strategy through which it will provide over $100 million to reduce emissions and develop clean technologies in the areas of freight transport, public transit and personal vehicles. The strategy encompasses three specific programs, to be delivered through Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada: ecoFreight, ecoMobility and ecoTechnology/ecoEnergy for Vehicles.

The ecoFreight program will provide up to $61 million to accelerate the adoption of emissions-reducing technology in order to reduce the environmental and health effects of freight transportation. This will be done through a series of six initiatives, two focusing on the trucking industry and the other four targeting all four modes of transportation (air, rail, road, marine), as well as users of the freight system.

The trucking industry initiatives include the removal of regulatory barriers and reduction of fuel use and emissions. The multi-modal-oriented initiatives include establishing a Freight Technology Demonstration Fund, providing cost-shared funding, building and maintaining partnerships and demonstrating the potential of shore-based power. Details are as follows.

1) National Harmonization Initiative for the Trucking Industry: Transport Canada will inveset up to $5 million to seek solutions with respect to national and provincial requirements that create barriers for the trucking industry to adopt currently available technologies to reduce emissions. This work will be done in partnership with the provinces and territories.

2) ecoEnergy for Fleets: This $22-million initiative from Natural Resources Canada will focus on reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in commercial and institutional fleets through training and education, sharing of best practices, anti-idling campaigns, technical analysis and evaluations to find opportunities for improvements, and other technology activities. 3) Freight Technology Demonstration Fund: Allocated up to $10 million, this Transport Canada initiative will provide cost-shared funding to companies in the air, rail, road and marine modes in order to test and measure the environmental and operational performance of new and underutilized freight transportation technologies. Industry partners will measure and report on results such as fuel saved, emissions reduced, costs of technology purchase, installation and training, and impacts on operations, equipment and maintenance.

4) Freight Technology Incentives: Transport Canada will invest up to $10 million to mitigate financial barriers to the adoption of new and under-utilized technologies, many of which currently have an initial cost premium that makes the initial financial outlay or the length of the payback period difficult. The program will provide cost-shared funding to companies and non-profit associations in all modes of the freight transportation industry for the purchase and installation of proven emission-reducing technologies.

5) Partnerships on Freight: This $7-million Transport Canada initiative will bring together a range of partners within the freight transportation sector to reduce emissions from freight transportation (road, rail, aviation and marine). Transport Canada will enhance its partnerships with other countries in international forums while developing partnerships with users of the freight system. These partnerships will complement the broad environmental regulatory agenda, setting targets and action plans for emission reduction in the short term in areas not suitable for regulation or before regulations take effect in 2011.

6) Marine Shore Power Program: Another Transport Canada initiative, allocated up to $6 million, will support up to four pilot projects for the installation and use of shore-based power for marine vessels in Canadian ports. With this technology, marine vessel operators would have the option to connect their vessels directly to a shore power source while in port. Many vessels are already equipped to take advantage of shore power where it is available. As no Canadian ports currently offer this service commercially, ships must idle their engines or use diesel engine generators, in order to meet their on-board energy requirements while in port. This technology will improve local air quality by reducing air pollution from ships in some of Canada's largest urban centres.

The ecoTransport strategy will direct a maximum of $36 million toward the ecoTechnology for Vehicles and the ecoEnergy for Personal Vehicles programs.

Transport Canada's ecoTechnology for Vehicles Program is designed to raise awareness among Canadians about advanced environmental vehicle technologies and their benefits, and to help them make informed decisions about purchasing vehicles that use clean technologies. Allocated up to $15 million in funding, this program is aimed at reducing GHG emissions from on-road vehicles by:

*evaluating the fuel efficiency, emissions and safety performance of advanced technology vehicles;

*seeking opportunities and market potential for the introduction and use of advanced technology vehicles;

*determining barriers to the introduction and use of advanced technology vehicles and recommending ways to eliminate them; and

*raising public awareness of advanced technology vehicles.

Under the ecoTechnology for Vehicles program, a range of advanced technologies--including hydrogen, advanced electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles--will be purchased, tested and showcased at public events across Canada.

Near- and long-term advanced technologies suitable for the Canadian vehicle market will also be featured, among them more efficient and cleaner gasoline and diesel engines, electric, solar, hydrogen fuel cells, biodiesel, and individual advanced technology vehicle components.

In addition, the program will focus on building strong partnerships with the automotive industry and others, to encourage penetration of a broader range of environmental technologies and vehicles into the Canadian new vehicle fleet. These include:

*powertrain and engine improvements;

*advanced valve control to enhance vehicle efficiency;

*lightweight materials;

*aerodynamics;

*tire technologies; and

*advanced engine technologies such as hybrid, advanced electric, fuel cell, and hydrogen technologies.

There are more than 18 million motor vehicles registered in Canada, which account for approximately one-eighth of the GHG emissions in the country. Advanced technologies will play an important role in helping the auto industry to achieve the 5.3-megatonne reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions from light duty vehicles in Canada. Preliminary estimates suggest that the program will result in a reduction in the order of 500 kilotonnes (kt) of GHG reductions in 2010, as well as reductions of significant air pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) will use up to $21 million allocated for the ecoEnergy for Personal Vehicles program to provide fuel consumption information and decision-making tools such as vehicle labels, guides and interactive Web sites to encourage consumers to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles that are currently available in the market.

The ecoMobility program will invest up to $10 million to work with municipalities to help cut urban-passenger transportation emissions by encouraging commuters to choose public transit or other sustainable transportation options. Working with cities across Canada, this initiative will help develop programs, services and products to improve choice and quality of life for Canadians in urban areas.

As with the previously-announced $1.5-billion Canada ecoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change, resources for the ecoTransport strategy will be contained in the upcoming budget and will be available as soon as Parliament approves the budget.

More information on the strategy and its component programs may be found on the Transport Canada Web site, www.tc.gc.ca.

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