Given that federal budget deficits are an ever-present concern, taxpayers should enjoy the same cost savings that alternative-fuel trucking now offers the private sector. Trucks using alternative fuels also produce less pollution, reducing the threat to public health along major truck routes — routes that disproportionately affect poor and minority communities.
Additionally, the more encouragement today’s alternative-fuel fleets and manufacturers receive from Uncle Sam, the stronger those alternatives are likely to become in the market, and the more able they will be to leverage any improved fuel technologies developed by a new R&D trust fund
In sum, our leaders in Washington have all the authority they need to jump-start a new generation of alternative fuel transportation services. They just need to use that authority to send a message to the marketplace that switching to alternative fuels will be supported by the government’s own buying power.
Gregory C. Staple is CEO and Brian A. Skretny is director of transportation programs at the American Clean Skies Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.