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Locomotive idle reduction

This opportunity provides locomotive owners funding to purchase and install U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified SmartWay idle reduction technology and automatic start/stop technology (when not required by rule or statute), and shore connection systems. These systems will reduce diesel emissions while locomotives idle. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling, “first come, first served” basis until all dedicated funds have been dispersed or Monday, June 30, 2025, (4 p.m. Central Time), whichever occurs first.

Projects must be completed within one year of grant execution or by Tuesday, June 30, 2026, whichever occurs first.

Questions and answers

Applicants who have any questions regarding this RFP must email questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us using the subject line: “Locomotive idle reduction grant program.” Answers to questions will be posted frequently on this web page.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants

  • For profit, nonprofit, and public entities — including state, local, and tribal governments — that own and operate locomotives that idle more than 1,500 hours per year. 
  • Grant contractors are eligible under this program. Eligible contractors may request contractor fees up to 10% of the equipment cost per piece of equipment with a maximum of $2,000 per project. Contractor fees will be included on a per vehicle/equipment awarded basis and are not included in the maximum project funding.

To qualify as a contractor:

  • All projects must be on the same application (one application per contractor). 
  • Contractor must represent at least three different entities. 
  • Contractor is responsible for all grant contract oversight responsibilities as stated in grant agreement, federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act documents, and Code of Federal Regulations. 

Eligible projects

  • Existing locomotives must idle at least 1,500 hours/year in Minnesota during the previous two years prior to upgrade. The applicant must intend to operate the locomotive in Minnesota for at least five years. The participating fleet owner must currently own and operate the existing locomotive and have owned and operated the locomotive during the two years prior to upgrade.
  • Unregulated and Tiers 1 to 4 locomotives.
  • Eligible idle reduction technologies are listed  below. To be eligible for funding these technologies must be on EPA’s SmartWay Verified Technologies list at the time of acquisition.
    • Auxiliary power units and generator sets (APU/GS).
    • Automatic engine shut-down/start-up systems (AESS) for Tier 0 or unregulated only.
    • Shore connection systems (minimum use of 1,500 hours/year).
    • Installation of technology. Eligible costs for battery electric powered vehicle, equipment and engine replacement projects can include the purchase and installation of one charging unit per vehicle, including the unit and charging cable, mount and/or pedestal. Eligible costs for idle reduction technologies that are installed on the vehicle can include the associated labor costs for installation of the system. These costs are subject to the mandatory cost share requirements.

Available funds

The MPCA anticipates the award of approximately $200,000 for these grants, although additional funding may be included.

A maximum of $20,000 grant funding per project (i.e., per locomotive), no limit on number of projects.

Grantees will be required to provide a cash match. The minimum required cash match percentage is 60% of the equipment and installation cost. Eligible sources of a cash match are non-DERA, non-VW settlement or non-federal funds in the form of cash, loans, other grants, or capital assets dedicated to the project.

Prior to any purchase, the equipment must be approved by MPCA to ensure eligibility.

How to apply

All applicants must submit the rolling application form (two parts). Applications must be received electronically by the MPCA no later than 4 p.m. Central Time on June 30, 2025. Email applications to grants.pca@state.mn.us with the subject line: “Locomotive idle reduction rolling application.”