The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

February 21, 2014

State to fund CamTran’s compressed gas station

JOHNSTOWN — CamTran buses will be the first vehicles to fill up with compressed natural gas at the authority’s soon-to-open garage in Johnstown.

Privately owned shipping trucks will probably quickly follow.

And, then, eventually, people such as state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, will be in line with their personal vehicles.

Those plans are in the future.

For now, CamTran is preparing to build the filling station.

On Friday, a big step in the process was taken when state Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch visited the facility, located in the Woodvale neighborhood, to announce the state’s plan to fund the construction of the pumps.

Barbin enthusiastically spoke about the development as both an elected official and consumer.

“As soon as that pump comes up, my truck’s going to be filled up with compressed natural gas,” Barbin said.

State Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, envisioned the possibilities, too.

“We’re showing that one of the synergistic relationships with the transportation issue and with our natural gas fields is the use of natural gas in motorized vehicles,” said Wozniak.

“It’s always been the concept that we would begin with Pennsylvania fleets, our buses, our PennDOT trucks, etcetera, and then start working with the private sector, typically the freight haulers that have the day trips when they come back and refuel, and then eventually with the private sectors and start creating the stations along our highway systems.”

Schoch estimates installing the pumps might cost $2 million. That amount could be less, depending on what kind of contracts are structured and if public-private partnerships are developed for the construction of multiple compressed natural gas stations.

CamTran expects to benefit from the investment by being able to purchase CNG, which is cheaper than diesel.

The authority’s first compressed natural gas bus is scheduled to arrive sometime within the next 18 months.

“When you put the CNG filling station in, it’s going to mean that they’re going to be able to provide service at either lower costs – future estimates say that they can save as much as $600,000 a year for their operating budget – or they can provide more services for the same dollars, so you are either going to see more service for the same budget or you’re going to see less in cost to deliver that service,” said Schoch.

“That’s what you make these kind of investments for. It’s to improve the long-term operating efficiency of an agency.”

The station, located on Maple Avenue, was designed to be CNG compliant.

“The CNG project was always a part of this, but we didn’t know if we had the funding. But we proceeded forward, always with that in place,” said CamTran board Chairman Ed Cernic Jr.

The authority’s executive director, Rose Lucey-Noll, added, “It’s extremely exciting, especially that this was part of the puzzle we didn’t have money for.”

Grant money for the compressed natural gas pumping station was made available thanks to the comprehensive transportation bill passed by the state late last year, according to Schoch.

“It was already built into the project,” said Barbin. “It wasn’t funded, but it was in there because we knew if we could put it in we would save money for transit. Because it was already in, we were able to get the commitment to fund it because it was already up and running, kind of like a shovel-ready construction project.”

The pumps are not expected to be in place when the rest of the CamTran garage and headquarters is scheduled to open this summer.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ Dave_Sutor.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Grand jury: UPMC psych clinic didn’t notify police

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Philly carjacking

    Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

    July 29, 2014

  • 10 things to know for Tuesday

    July 29, 2014

  • DePrimio, Mary Grace Winner of scholarship contest to represent Pa.

    Seventeen high school seniors, including three from this region, are competing to be named Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania 2015.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Restaurant makes pitch for local noise law

    A Scalp Avenue wing chain owner trying to entice Richland Township officials to take over his commercial neighborhood’s noise enforcement made his pitch Monday, saying it would allow him to add outdoor events with rock bands and oldies DJs on summer nights.

    July 28, 2014

  • Tom Grenell Arena, promoter nearing new deal

    A new contract is almost in place that will retain SMG as the Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s promoter for at least five years and create a schedule for the county to pay down more than $400,000 in debt.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • 3rd Kennywood coaster earns title

    The group American Coaster Enthusiasts has named the Thunderbolt a Coaster Landmark, the third roller coaster to be so recognized at the Kennywood amusement park near Pittsburgh.

    July 28, 2014

  • Candidates rush to counter flurry of TV attack ads

    A flurry of new TV ads has debuted in Pennsylvania’s campaign for governor, sending candidates scrambling to counter the attacks as the spending and rhetoric ratchet up.

    July 28, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads