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Watsontown Trucking awarded nearly $1.8 million for conversion to zero-emission trucks

MILTON — Watsontown Trucking was awarded $1.8 million through a state grant by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to replace zero-emission vehicles and add charging stations at its Milton facility.

Watsontown Trucking was one of 16 applicants receiving awards as a part of the 2022-2023 $39.6 million Medium and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Pilot Grant.

The grant initiative targets diesel fleets of medium and heavy-duty freight and port drayage trucks, which are used to move seaport freight containers.

“We have been working with the state for about nine months on an application for the grant,” said Steve Patton, president of Patton Logistics. “I am very thankful to the state of Pennsylvania for awarding the grant to us and recognizing the commitment we have in reducing our carbon footprint and we are anxious to get this project started and get the trucks on the road locally.”

The company will replace five eligible Class 8 freight trucks and install two fast EV charging stations, according to information provided by the grant program.

Part of the Driving PA Forward program, this grant was developed under the Shapiro administration, to improve air quality statewide by driving transformation from older, high-polluting diesel engines to clean transportation technologies.

“Clean air is crucial in ensuring a healthy environment,” said Jessica Shirley, state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) interim acting secretary. “That’s why we see it as our mission to address one of the most significant air quality challenges facing our commonwealth— emissions from transportation. These recommendations mark the highest-dollar awards in any round, for any Driving PA Forward Initiative funding program, showing a step forward in Pennsylvania’s effort to reduce these emissions by getting more clean trucks on the road in the communities that need them.”

DEP is awarding $39,605,578 to 16 applicants for the battery-electric replacement of dozens of vehicles, including home delivery trucks, refuse/recycling trucks, terminal tractors, and the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle replacement of two terminal tractors and their supporting charging infrastructure.

The 2022-2023 Medium and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Pilot Grant also focuses on funding projects located in underserved and disproportionately impacted communities, such as Environmental Justice and Act 47-designated communities.

The trucks will operate in Milton, Sunbury, Lewisburg, Northumberland and for the company’s clients in those areas.

Chris Patton, Vice President of Watsontown Trucking said, “We work with almost all the manufacturers in the Valley, including ConAgra, Furmano Food, and PlayPower. We’ll utilize our ZEVs in servicing those customers.”

Watsontown Trucking currently has five zero emission vehicles, or ZEVs, and they operate “at our warehouse and logistics operation in Dublin, Virginia,” Patton said.

Patton said the ZEVs in use are all for local shuttle operations.

“But in the future, trucks are going to have to have much more robust length of haul for them to be used on over-the-road application. And there is going to have to be charging infrastructure supporting it,” he said. “Those things are being worked on. This is the beginning of it. The infrastructure will start getting in place and the state of Pennsylvania has helped us do that.

“Because it is not only the trucks. It is the charging infrastructure. It is a significant operation that we are going to be setting up.”


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