(1) CREATION AND PURPOSE OF PROGRAM.—There is created within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services a natural gas fuel fleet vehicle rebate program. The purpose of this program is to help reduce transportation costs in this state and encourage freight mobility investments that contribute to the economic growth of the state.
(2) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this section, the term:
(a) “Conversion costs” means the excess cost associated with retrofitting a diesel or gasoline powered motor vehicle to a natural gas fuel powered motor vehicle.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(c) “Eligible costs” means the cost of conversion or the incremental cost incurred by an applicant in connection with an investment in the conversion, purchase, or lease lasting at least 5 years, of a natural gas fleet vehicle placed into service on or after July 1, 2013. The term does not include costs for project development, fueling stations, or other fueling infrastructure.
(d) “Fleet vehicles” means three or more motor vehicles registered in this state and used for commercial business or governmental purposes.
(e) “Incremental costs” means the excess costs associated with the purchase or lease of a natural gas fuel motor vehicle as compared to an equivalent diesel- or gasoline-powered motor vehicle.
(f) “Natural gas fuel” means any liquefied petroleum gas product, compressed natural gas product, or combination thereof used in a motor vehicle as defined in s. 206.01(23). This term includes, but is not limited to, all forms of fuel commonly or commercially known or sold as natural gasoline, butane gas, propane gas, or any other form of liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, or liquefied natural gas. This term does not include natural gas or liquefied petroleum placed in a separate tank of a motor vehicle for cooking, heating, water heating, or electric generation.
(3) NATURAL GAS FUEL FLEET VEHICLE REBATE.—The department shall award rebates for eligible costs as defined in this section. Forty percent of the annual allocation shall be reserved for governmental applicants, with the remaining funds allocated for commercial applicants. A rebate may not exceed 50 percent of the eligible costs of a natural gas fuel fleet vehicle with a dedicated or bi-fuel natural gas fuel operating system placed into service on or after July 1, 2013. An applicant is eligible to receive a maximum rebate of $25,000 per vehicle up to a total of $250,000 per fiscal year. Between June 1 and June 30 of each fiscal year, the department may receive additional applications from applicants that have met the program maximum of $250,000 per fiscal year. Those applicants may apply for additional funds for vehicles that have not received a rebate, for a maximum rebate of $25,000 per vehicle up to a total of $250,000. Governmental applicants shall have preference, and any other remaining funds may be used by commercial applicants. Rebates shall be allocated to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, determined by the date the department receives the application, until all appropriated funds for the fiscal year are expended. All natural gas fuel fleet vehicles eligible for the rebate must comply with applicable United States Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.
(4) APPLICATION PROCESS.—
(a) An applicant seeking to obtain a rebate shall submit an application to the department by a specified date each year as established by department rule. The application shall require a complete description of all eligible costs, proof of purchase or lease of the vehicle for which the applicant is seeking a rebate, a copy of the vehicle registration certificate, a description of the total rebate sought by the applicant, and any other information deemed necessary by the department. The application form adopted by department rule must include an affidavit from the applicant certifying that all information contained in the application is true and correct.
(b) The department shall determine the rebate eligibility of each applicant in accordance with the requirements of this section and department rule. The total amount of rebates allocated to certified applicants in each fiscal year may not exceed the amount appropriated for the program in the fiscal year. Rebates shall be allocated to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, determined by the date the application is received, until all appropriated funds for the fiscal year are expended or the program ends, whichever comes first. Incomplete applications submitted to the department will not be accepted and do not secure a place in the first-come, first-served application process.
(5) RULES.—The department shall adopt rules to implement and administer this section by December 31, 2013, including rules relating to the forms required to claim a rebate under this section, the required documentation and basis for establishing eligibility for a rebate, procedures and guidelines for claiming a rebate, and the collection of economic impact data from applicants.
(6) PUBLICATION.—The department shall determine and publish on its website on an ongoing basis the amount of available funding for rebates remaining in each fiscal year.
(7) ANNUAL ASSESSMENT.—By October 1, 2014, and each year thereafter that the program is funded, the department shall provide an annual assessment of the use of the rebate program during the previous fiscal year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. The assessment shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
(a) The name of each applicant awarded a rebate under this section;
(b) The amount of the rebates awarded to each applicant;
(c) The type and description of each eligible vehicle for which each applicant applied for a rebate; and
(d) The aggregate amount of funding awarded for all applicants claiming rebates under this section.
(8) REPORT.—By January 31, 2016, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability shall release a report reviewing the rebate program to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The review shall include an analysis of the economic benefits resulting to the state from the program.
(9) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This section shall take effect July 1, 2013.