The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 16, 2013

Companies receive fuel conversion aid

— A Cambria County trucking company and a Blair County-based trash hauler with customers in Cambria and Somerset counties are big winners in money handed out by the state from the Marcellus Shale impact fees.

W.C. McQuaide Inc. of Richland Township is receiving a $500,000 state grant to be used toward conversion of its trucking fleet to compressed natural gas.

McQuaide will use the money to convert some or all of its 80 over-the-road trucks that now run on diesel fuel.

The grant program is significant because the more trucks running on compressed natural gas will result in refueling stations that will open the door for passenger vehicles, said state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont.

“This helps in a big way toward increasing demand for refueling stations,” Wozniak said Thursday.

McQuaide will begin using the trucks on day trips, short enough to fuel up in Johnstown in the morning and get back on the same tank of natural gas, Wozniak said.

“The conversion of this large fleet is significant because producing large quantities of natural gas is not enough for Pennsylvania’s economy,” Wozniak said. “We also have to promote new markets for natural gas, and Act 13 set aside money to accomplish it.”

Also on the receiving end of more than $6.7 million handed out by the office of Gov. Tom Corbett is Burgmeier’s Hauling Inc., a trash service based in Altoona that services communities in Cambria and Somerset counties.

Burgmeier’s will receive $288,000 for the purchase of 12 refuse trucks designed to operate on compressed natural gas.

Smith Transportation of Roaring Spring, Blair County, will receive $300,000 for the purchase of 12 liquified natural gas vehicles.

State Rep. Bryan Barbin,

D-Johns­town, said the grant money to McQuaide is commendable, but there could be even more money available

if there had been what he termed a “reasonable” severance tax imposed on natural gas drilling.

The Act 13 legislation calls for $20 million in grants to be distributed over three years to 18 companies and organizations for conversion to or purchase of natural gas-powered vehicles.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry-based group formed to promote development of the unconventional gas industry, views the grants as proof of the benefits of Marcellus drilling.

“These grants further demonstrate the far-reaching benefits of Marcellus Shale in communities across the commonwealth,” coalition spokesman Patrick Creighton said.

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