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Bush signs bill

Mack gets $2 million

August 06, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

President Bush signed a $417.5 billion defense spending bill on Thursday morning that includes $2 million for Mack Trucks to continue work on developing a hybrid diesel-electric powertrain for military and commercial use.

"Fantastic. We're very grateful again to all the support we got from our (congressional) delegates and the fact that the bill was signed by the president," said Guy Rini, director of advanced propulsion systems at Mack Trucks north of Hagerstown.

The hybrid powertrain is important to national security because it will reduce the country's dependency on foreign oil, Rini has said. The hybrid also will comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 and 2010 emission standards.

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In early 2004, the heavy-duty truck manufacturer announced that it won a $4 million government contract over two years to design a hybrid diesel-electric vehicle for refueling Air Force planes.

Mack is proposing building four demonstration vehicles - two military and two trash vehicles - with the first military demonstration vehicle expected to be ready in February, Rini has said.

Mack's parent company, Volvo, is funding the program with financial support from the government.

While Rini said he couldn't say yet whether the program will increase the number of jobs at the local Mack plant, the program does help secure the local operation's future, he said Thursday.

Rini said he didn't know when the company would receive the funds, of which the local operation will receive a portion.

The local powertrain plant had 1,415 employees as of July 15.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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