The City of St. Paul, Minn., is replacing 10 of its aging public works vehicles with more environmentally friendly models, a switch that is the equivalent of removing more than 20,000 cars off the road, the city stated in a release. This is done with the assistance of Project Green Fleet, an Environmental Initiative program that replaces inefficient diesel engines and vehicles at a reduced cost to businesses and municipalities to improve air quality throughout Minnesota.
The new Public Works vehicles include three clam trucks, two dump trucks, two aerial lifts, a digger, a loader, and a street sweeper. The older vehicles, which ranged from 17 to 24 years old, lacked modern environmental performance controls.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, most of the state’s air pollutants come from smaller, widespread sources that are not highly regulated. These smaller sources include cars, trucks, construction equipment, and residential garbage and wood burning. Air pollution disproportionally affects people of color, elderly residents, children with uncontrolled asthma, and people living in poverty.
“Upgrading these vehicles through programs like Project Green Fleet is critical to decreasing air pollution and improving public health.,” said Jessie Shmool, an epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health. “These vehicles travel all over Saint Paul, passing many communities on the way that are already over-burdened with environmental and health stressors.”
About 25% of the $1.5 million cost of the new equipment will be paid for using a combination of grants, including from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Star Tribune reported.