The first of 29 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations planned for transit agencies across Pennsylvania through an $84.5 million public private partnership opened on Thursday, roughly one year after the deal was finalized.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced the station's opening at the Cambria County Transportation Authority's Johnstown Facility, saying the partnership is helping "transit agencies save money and take advantage of the plentiful supplies of natural gas produced right here in Pennsylvania."
The state's Public-Private Partnership Board approved plans for the fueling stations in 2014, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) awarded the $84.5 million contract last year to Trillium CNG and two other companies.
Under the agreement, Trillium is designing, building, operating and maintaining the 29 stations through 2021. It's getting help from the Pittsburgh-based companies Larson Design Group and American Natural. Six of the fueling stations, including the Johnstown facility, will be open to the public to help pay for the project.
PennDot will receive a 15% royalty, excluding taxes, for each gallon of fuel sold to the public. Trillium has guaranteed $2.1 million in royalties to help with cost recovery.
The Wolf administration stressed that the public private partnership will enable the facilities to be built faster than normal and help save an estimated $46 million on capital costs. The average price of CNG in Pennsylvania on Thursday was $2.22/gallon, according to cngnow.com. The average cost for regular grade gasoline in the state on Thursday was $2.65/gallon and $2.98 for diesel fuel, according to automotive group AAA.
Trillium was acquired last year by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. Love's said at the time that the deal would allow it to expand services to fleet-operating customers across the country, as Trillium provides CNG to thousands of natural gas vehicles that run for transit authorities, school districts, airport fleets and the public.
Trillium is also making CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities under its agreement with Pennsylvania. In all, the 29 fueling stations are expected to supply gas to more than 1,600 buses across the state.