The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to mark the opening of a Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) facility at its New Stanton Service Plaza at milepost 77.6 off the westbound lanes of I-76.
The facility was constructed to provide assistance to truckers and other operators of diesel-powered vehicles who must comply with state regulations that make it illegal for motor vehicles over five tons to idle engines while parked at rest stops.
Developed by CabAire LLC, a subsidiary of Control Module Industries, the new TSE system features towers equipped with modules that fit into truck cab windows to provide heat, air conditioning, internet, TV and electrical power to trucks and other diesel-powered vehicles while the engine is shut off.
The cost to use it is expected to be about the same as a gallon of diesel fuel per hour. CabAire has agreed to provide the service free of charge for 30 days, from June 4 to July 4.
The New Stanton Service Plaza is located in one of the busiest truck corridors on the Turnpike. About 17,500 total vehicles a day travel the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike between Donegal and New Stanton. Of that, 33% (or 5,800 vehicles) are trucks -- one of the highest concentrations of truck traffic on the entire toll-road system.
Funding was provided by the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) via a State Clean Diesel Grant through an allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The DEP award of $478,396 covered the construction cost of the TSE.
CabAire LLC was selected for the project after a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process initiated by PTC. CabAire will provide the equipment and operate and maintain the TSE for 10 years. HMSHost Corp. and Sunoco Inc., the Turnpike's service-plaza partners, will provide on-site support.
In addition, the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) has been contracted by DEP to educate the public about the new law, to assist truckers in compliance and to publicize health risks caused by idling diesel motors.
"We are incredibly proud to have constructed this facility - presently the only one of its kind in the state - on the Pennsylvania Turnpike," said Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. "This TSE is designed to help reduce pollution and land-development impacts to the neighborhoods surrounding our travel plaza, and it's just one of several steps we're taking to provide a greener environment."