Washington, D.C. – The $787 billion U.S. stimulus bill provides funds for a large range of transportation-related projects, including significant changes to the plug-in vehicle tax credit program, according to the Green Car Congress. The bill, HR 1 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. It is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama today.

Under current law, tax credits are available for each new qualified fuel cell vehicle, hybrid vehicle, advanced lean burn technology vehicle, and alternative fuel vehicle placed in service by a taxpayer during the taxable year. A credit is also available for each qualified plug-in electric-drive motor vehicle, provided it is a four-wheel, on-road vehicle equipped with a grid-chargeable battery pack of at least 4 kWh capacity. Once a total of 250,000 credit-eligible vehicles have been sold for use in the U.S., the credit phases out over four calendar quarters. As revised by the Senate, the bill now expands the type of vehicles qualifying for a credit, adding a credit for PHEV conversions, and doubling the 250,000 vehicle limitation to 500,000.

The bill also adds a maximum credit of $2,500 for electric-drive low-speed vehicles, motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles; a 10 per cent credit, to a maximum of $4,000, for the cost of converting any motor vehicle into a qualified PHEV; and replaces the 250,000 total plug-in vehicle limitation with a 200,000 plug-in vehicle per manufacturer limitation.

Other funding in the bill approved by the Senate includes $2 billion for advanced battery manufacturing grants to support vehicle batteries and components; an additional $3.4 billion for the Fossil Energy Research and Development program; $300 million for the acquisition of energy-efficient federal motor vehicle fleets, including domestic plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles if they are available in sufficient quantities; $27.5 billion for highway infrastructure; $8 billion for capital assistance for high-speed rail corridors and inter-city passenger rail service; and $300 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act grants.

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