The Western Governors' Association (WGA) Thursday urged Congress to provide more incentives for natural gas in transportation. The two WGA heads, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Idaho Gov. C.L. Butch Otter, wrote the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate to make the pitch for natural gas vehicles (NGV).
The governors are aiming for a boost in NGVs on the road and in the needed fueling infrastructure to support that growth. They cited a 2008 report by WGA, "Transportation Fuels for the Future," and called out four areas that Congress should address:
WGA wants an 18-year extension of existing tax credits for natural gas in vehicles, buying NGVs and installing an NGV fueling infrastructure as a means of boosting private investment in the sector. The expansion of property tax credits should provide greater incentives for both individuals and fleet operators to consider NGVs, the governors said.
Economic, environmental and security reasons were all cited by the governors as why Congress needs to provide more incentives for gas as a transportation alternative. They emphasized natural gas is a "domestic solution" since 98% of the gas burned in the United States is produced in North America.
"One of the greatest contributions from an increased penetration of NGVs in America's transportation system undoubtedly would be a growth in high-quality and stable domestic jobs," they said in their letter. "Industry projections estimate that implementing long-term tax incentives to promote the increased production of light- and heavy-duty NGVs and NGV stations could create more than half-a-million domestic jobs."
And the governors called the potential added jobs "sustainable and high-quality" positions that they see as a natural fallout from greater government incentives in the NGV sector.
"Every day the United States spends billions of dollars overseas in the form of oil payments that could be spent here in America, employing our citizens and boosting the health of our economy."
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