I know a lot of people roll their eyes when they think of applying for federal funding for anything. Red tape and lots of it comes to mind almost immediately.
But the VALE (Voluntary Airport Low Emissions) program may have some advantages over the typical federal program – and may help replace old, polluting GSE with newer, more environmentally-friendly equipment. And that can be a win-win-win-win for clean-energy GSE manufacturers, GSE owners/operators, the airports, and of course, those of us who breathe the air at and around airports.
A couple of criteria: Only projects at commercial service airports are eligible for VALE funding and these airports must be in so-called air quality non-attainment or maintenance areas.
These are areas that do not meet EPA Clean Air Act standards or areas that need monitoring to ensure they continue to meet standards. But a lot of commercial service airports, especially near metropolitan areas, would meet these criteria.
Individual GSE owners or operators are not responsible for filing the paperwork that’s required – but they would be bound by certain conditions if they received GSE paid for with VALE funds.
VALE uses existing FAA funding mechanisms – grants-in-aid to airports under the Airport Improvement Program and PFCs (Passenger Facility Charges) – to pay for eligible projects. Airports are very familiar with these processes, so, if anything, they may just need to be convinced to apply specifically for funding for VALE-eligible projects.
If you think your airport might be eligible for VALE funding, visit the FAA’s VALE website to learn more.