Compressed natural gas filling station planned for Saint Clair

SAINT CLAIR — Schuylkill Transportation System is getting its own compressed natural gas filling station.

The state Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced Monday that the Trillium CNG, which includes Larson Design Group in Williamsport, has been selected for the department’s Public-Private Partnership project.

As part of the $84.5 million project, Trillium will design, build, finance, operate and maintain CNG fueling stations at 29 public transit agency sites through a 20-year P3 agreement. Stations will be constructed over the next five years and the firm will also make CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities.

Construction at STS in Saint Clair is slated for 2018.

“We here at STS are excited about the opportunity for CNG fueling,” David A. Bekisz, executive director at STS, said Monday. “We have been working with PennDOT on the P3 Project for over a year now with the hope that we would be included in the list of transit agencies to be approved. We expect that our maintenance facility will be updated to facilitate CNG vehicle in conjunction with a facility upgrade here at our Saint Clair location soon. We can now start working on the procurement of CNG vehicles for our fixed route service at this time as the lead time for the vehicles is longer than our current diesel vehicles. Having STS a part of this project, along with other technology upgrades we have and will be implementing, keeps us in step with changes across the state and country.”

STS has also received $2.8 million in state funding in June 2013 for upgrades at its Saint Clair facility. That project has been delayed due to the possibility of STS being selected for the CNG project.

It will be Trillium’s second fueling station in Schuylkill County. It opened a $1 million station last year at the Highridge Business Park, Foster Township.

The other three companies that submitted proposals were Clean Energy, Newport Beach, California; GP Strategies, Escondido, California; and Spire, St. Louis, Missouri. PennDOT considered companies based on their financial capability to carry out the project, their background and experience in managing comparable projects and their understanding of the project.

As part of Trillium’s proposal, CNG fueling will be accessible to the public at seven transit agency sites, with the option to add to additional sites in the future, according to the press release. PennDOT will receive a 15 percent royalty, excluding taxes, for each gallon of fuel sold to the public, which will be used to support the cost of the project. The team has guaranteed at least $2.1 million in royalties over the term of the agreement.

“The department is excited to partner on this project that will bring benefits for the state, our transit partners and the public for years to come,” Richards said. “The project’s aggressive schedule means that we’ll realize cost, environmental and operational benefits quickly.”

PennDOT also expects transit agencies and the department to see significant savings due to the project. Based on current CNG, diesel and gasoline prices as well as fuel usage, agencies can save a total of more than $10 million annually. Due to these expected savings, transit agencies’ sustainability is increased and dependency on state operational subsidies is reduced. After 10 years, the department estimates that the project will pay for itself with the estimated $100 million in savings.

“With Pennsylvania’s natural gas resources, this project will not only bring efficiencies for transit agencies and the state, but we’re also helping establish a foothold for the CNG transportation market in areas that may not have seen this opportunity for some time,” Richards said.

Using the P3 procurement mechanism allows PennDOT to install the fueling stations faster than if a traditional procurement mechanism was used for each site, resulting in significant estimated capital cost savings of more than $46 million, according to the press release.

When the project is completed, the fueling stations will supply gas to more than 1,600 CNG buses at transit agencies across the state.

Trillium CNG, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, was recently acquired by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

To learn more about this and other P3 projects, visit www.P3forPA.pa.gov.

Editor’s Note: A list of agencies participating in the P3 project, in order of construction-start timeline, follows:

· Cambria County Transportation Authority, Johnstown Facility (2016), includes public fueling.

· Centre Area Transportation Authority (2016)

· York Adams County Transportation Authority, York Facility (2016), includes public fueling.

· Mid Mon Valley Transportation Authority (2017)

· Cambria County Transportation Authority, Ebensburg Facility (2017)

· Indiana County Transportation Authority (2017), includes public fueling.

· Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, Allentown Facility (2017)

· Westmoreland County Transportation Authority (2017)

· County of Lackawanna Transportation System (2017), includes public fueling.

· New Castle Area Transportation Authority (2017), includes public fueling.

· Altoona Metro Transit (2017)

· Beaver County Transportation Authority (2017), includes public fueling.

· Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, Easton Facility (2017)

· York Adams County Transportation Authority, Gettysburg Facility (2017)

· Luzerne County Transportation Authority (2017)

· Crawford Area Transportation Authority (2017)

· Erie Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2018), includes public fueling.

· County of Lebanon Transportation Authority (2018)

· Schuylkill Transportation System (2018)

· Monroe County Transportation Authority (2019)

· Area Transportation Authority of North Central PA, Bradford Facility (2019)

· Area Transportation Authority of North Central PA, Johnsonburg Facility (2019)

· Butler Transportation Authority (2019)

· Mercer County Regional Council of Governments (2019)

· Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation System (2019)

· DuBois, Falls Creek, Sandy Township Joint Transportation Authority (2020)

· Transit Authority of Warren County (2021)

· Capital Area Transit (2021)

· Port Authority of Allegheny County (2021)

Author: Mark Gilger Jr.Publication: Republican Heraldhttp://republicanherald.com/news/compressed-natural-gas-filling-station-planned-for-saint-clair-1.2024306