San Antonio trying for federal climate dollars

Inflation Reduction Act includes $369 billion for climate initiatives

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio says it’s trying to grab as much money for climate initiatives as it can from a $369 billion federal bucket.

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in August 2022 and included money for tax credits, grants, and rebates. But city staff say that they didn’t know much about the specifics even by the end of the year.

Now, programs are being rolled out, and city staff say they’re chasing every opportunity they can.

The city says it plans to realign its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to prioritize programs’ federal funding opportunities, while the Alamo Area Council of Governments works with neighboring cities to create their own climate plans. That way, they can go after a bigger pot of federal dollars later for reducing pollution.

The city also expects to get more than $1.2 million, which it will use for an incentive program to put electric vehicle chargers at apartments, create a rebate program for E-bikes, and make an energy master plan for the airport.

There are also upcoming programs through the IRA that would help fund things like pollution monitoring in underserved neighborhoods or improve walkability in parts of the city that are cut off by highways or railroads.

City staff said they are also talking with other Texas cities about teaming up to get money for greenhouse gas reduction.

Between the IRA, the infrastructure bill, and the American Rescue Plan Act, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said “historic levels” of federal dollars are available.

“We need to take every single shot we possibly can. And if we don’t, we’re going to we will rue the day for the next generation because this opportunity is not going to come around again in any of our lifetimes,” Nirenberg said during a Wednesday council meeting.

The mayor also said he was open to bringing on more staff or forming additional committees to tackle the opportunities.

There are also opportunities for individuals to get a piece of the IRA pie, too. You can read more about them out here.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.