The USDA Friday opened applications for its Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership competitive grant program, an effort to outfit more gas stations with blender pumps that can handle larger quantities of ethanol.
USDA announced the program May 29. About $100 million will go towards the effort, which is open to all states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., and seeks to double the number of pumps that are currently available.
Through BIP, states that offer funding equal to or greater than that provided by the federal government will receive higher consideration for grant funds. States may work with private entities to enhance their offer.
Commodity Credit Corporation funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure, USDA said Friday. The matching contributions may also be used for related costs such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.
Ethanol group Growth Energy said Frida that the program puts a priority on consumer choice.
"By offering competitive grants to eligible states, with a goal to match funds on a one for one basis, and encouraging public-private partnerships to ensure these infrastructure projects can be completed in the shortest amount of time possible, this program has incredible potential to strengthen our rural economy and bring more renewable fuels into the marketplace," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
"Secretary Vilsack has been at the forefront of helping break the near monopoly Big Oil has on the transportation fuel marketplace by advancing policies that will increase consumer access to fuels such as E15, providing American motorists with a choice and savings at the pump," Buis added.
The USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Program NOFA has been sent to the Federal Register and it will be published on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
All state grant applications must be submitted using grants.gov by July 15, 2015.