Three state grant programs focused on the Texas Triangle of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin to promote natural gas use in transportation resulted in $128 million in economic stimulus between 2012 and 2014, according to a report released Monday by the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA).
In 2013 alone, state grants for natural gas vehicles (NGV) and fueling stations generated $30.2 million in economic output -- $14.7 million in gross state product and 132 full-time jobs -- according to the report from UTSA's Institute for Economic Development.
Institute economists are predicting that the grants will generate $484 million in total economic output by 2018, $302 million in gross state product, and 3,076 new full-time jobs, said Tom Tunstall, the UTSA's principal investigator and author of the report, "Economic Impacts of Natural Gas Fueling Station Infrastructure and Vehicle Conversions in the Texas Clean Transportation Triangle."
The three statewide programs include grants administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the Clean Transportation Triangle CTT, Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) and the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Program (TNGVP). They have focused on the 60,000-square-mile triangle in which 70% of the Texas population resides and 10% of the nation's transportation takes place.
UTSA's institute is dedicated to creating jobs and growing businesses to stimulate economic development throughout Texas. It operates 12 centers and programs providing professional business advice, training, research and strategic planning to entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders. Helping the state promote NGVs is part of that role.
CTT and AFFP grants totaled nearly $21 million, supporting 54 NGV station applications in the 2012-14 period. TNGVP grants totaled $32 million during the period, supporting 618 NGV purchases and four vehicle conversions for 50 applicants, the report said.
"Our research shows that investment in natural gas fueling stations and the vehicles they support are positively and significantly impacting the Texas economy by providing jobs and improving air quality for the state," Tunstall said.
A state lawmaker who has been championing more of a push for NGVs in the state, Rep. Jason Issac, said the UTSA study confirms the effectiveness of the Texas Triangle focus in "keeping our economy strong and our air clean."
This was also echoed by David Porter, a commissioner on the Railroad Commission of Texas, which last year concluded that there had been $174 million invested in NGVs and fueling stations to support them in the state (see Daily GPI, Oct. 9, 2014).