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Sweeping transportation package called Marcellus Works clearing committees

By - Last modified: April 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Eight of the nine House bills cumulatively known as Marcellus Works and meant to increase the number of vehicles using natural gas in Pennsylvania cleared their respective committees last week.

The last part of the package, House Bill 304, is scheduled to go before the House Transportation Committee during a voting meeting on Wednesday, said Scott Little, a spokesman for House Republicans.

As of Friday afternoon, the other eight were scheduled for votes before the full House this week, Little said.

House Bill 304 would require the purchase of natural gas-fueled buses by large mass transit agencies, with the percentage of these buses that agencies have to buy going up over time, according to a copy of the legislation.

Eventually, all buses that the agencies buy would have to run on natural gas, according to the bill.

More than half of the rest of the package was approved by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee last Wednesday. They are House Bills 302, 303, 306, 307 and 308, according to a release from state Rep. Ron Miller, R-York County, who chairs the committee.

Legislation includes providing grants for small mass transit bus fleets to transition to alternative fuels, loans for mass transit agencies to transition to natural gas and a host of other measures, according to the bills’ texts.

The day before, the House Finance Committee gave its approval to House Bills 301, 305 and 309, according to a news release from state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre and Mifflin counties, who chairs the committee.

The legislation, respectively, would provide tax credits for companies converting vehicle fleets to natural gas, for firms creating natural gas fueling stations in interstate corridors and for taxpayers purchasing large natural-gas-fueled vehicles, according to the bills.

House Bill 301 would set up a committee to review tax credit applicants, rank them according to natural gas utilization and recommend applicants to the oversight agency for awarding the credits.

Leaders of state agencies and associations with members in the natural-gas industry would designate committee members, according to the bill.

House Bill 305 names the same industry groups, the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, along with state department heads to designate the committee for its tax credit program, according to the bill.

 

Brent Burkey

Brent Burkey

Brent Burkey covers York County, agribusiness, energy and environment, and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at brentb@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @brentburkey.

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