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Clean air grant projects will range from boats to bicycles

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County’s clean-air district is divvying up $1 million in funding to projects ranging from greener engines on North Tahoe cruise boats to building more city of Auburn bike racks. The money is coming from 2010 Clean Air Grant funds and going to 17 projects throughout the county that hold the promise of reducing particulate-matter pollution from fuel-driven sources. In Auburn, plans are for construction of 14 new racks and two bike lockers. The racks will be situated in the Downtown and Old Town areas and should be in place by late spring, said Megan Siren, city of Auburn administrative analyst. The lockers will be located at the Conheim Multimodal Station on Blocker Drive and provide bike storage for commuters taking buses or trains from that location. The city’s grant is for $12,200 and will be on a future City Council agenda for approval. North Tahoe Cruises is the recipient of one of the biggest grants. It’s receiving $174,000 to retrofit exhaust systems on three boat engines. Heather Kuklo, Placer County Air Pollution Control District grant program manager, said the grant to North Tahoe will cover the boat’s two main engines and an auxiliary motor. Tom Christofk, Placer County Air Pollution Control District officer, said the projects represent proactive approaches to reduce harmful emissions in the county. “By funding the approved grant projects this year, an estimated 59 tons of emissions will be reduced within the county over the next several years,” Christofk said. The grant awards were approved by the air board earlier this month. The 9-year-old grant program is intended to reduce criteria air pollutants primarily from mobile sources that are not already regulated by air-quality laws. Over the past decade, a total of $11 million in funds has been awarded through the grant program and an estimated 843 tons of criteria pollutant emissions have been reduced within the county.