HARRISBURG, PA --- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is offering nearly $500,000 in financial aid to state airports and airlines interested in advanced fuel and vehicle technology projects for cleaner ground service equipment. 

"The Pennsylvania Clean Diesel/Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program works to improve Pennsylvania's air quality and reduce consumption of imported oil through the use of homegrown alternative fuels," said DEP Secretary John Hanger. 

Airports and airlines may use the funding to replace or repower engines on dedicated ground service equipment such as baggage handlers and tow vehicles, apply the funds toward the purchase cost of alternative fuel or electric vehicles, or to install fleet refueling or recharging equipment. Projects may take as long as 12 months but must be completed no later than Sept. 30, 2010. 

"We are investing not only in the use of alternative fuels, but the deployment of fuel-saving vehicles, fleets and technologies," said Hanger. "We are looking for proposals that are market-driven, create jobs and produce economic development opportunities in Pennsylvania." 

Applications must be postmarked or received by 4 p.m. on Aug. 14.