FTA Awards $55M to Help 20 Transit Agencies Buy Low or No-Emission Buses

Blue bus

The Federal Transit Administration said it is spreading $55 million in grants among 20 transit agencies in 13 states to help them replace aging diesel-power buses with new low- or no-emission models including those powered by fuel cells or electricity.

"The Obama administration continues to invest in clean transportation infrastructure, and our Low-No program is putting more American-made, energy-efficient buses into service across the country," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

"By placing more modernized, non-polluting buses on the roads, we are improving the rider experience and continuing to extend ladders of opportunity to people who take public transportation every day," he added.

The FTA said the fleet replacement projects it selected for awards – out of more than 100 applications seeking funds – represent strategic investments to help reduce air pollution and train employees in maintaining new technology buses.

"Our Low-No grant projects represent the latest and greatest bus services running on state-of-the-art technology, resulting in cleaner air and lower costs in the long run," said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. "By investing in new-technology bus fleets, we help transition an industry that many depend on to model of green, efficient service."

The grants allow agencies to acquire buses as well as supporting facilities and infrastructure such as maintenance facilities and recharging equipment, which includes "en-route" fast charge units that extend vehicle battery life.

Four projects claim the largest grants of about $3.9 million each to buy electric buses and charging hardware.

Among them, the city of Shreveport, La., will buy such buses along with depot chargers plus an en-route fast charger to extend the range of buses on three routes. The others were Clemson Area Transit in South Carolina, Port Arthur Transit in Texas and Utah's Park City Transit in a project sponsored by the Utah Department of Transportation.

Among others, the Santa Cruz, Calif., Metropolitan Transit District will use a $3.8 million grant to buy battery-electric buses and an inductive charging system. Such systems allow buses to wirelessly and quickly recharge as they stop over an in-ground electromagnetic pad that transfers energy into the vehicle.

The Chelan Douglas Public Transportation Benefit Area in Washington will use a grant of nearly $3.8 million to buy electric buses and a wireless charging station to replace aging diesel units.

The FTA said its Low or No Emission Vehicle Grants Program evolved from a research and deployment program first established under the 2012 MAP-21 Act into an annually funded grant program. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act more than doubled the funding available and moved the Low-No Program under the FTA's Bus and Bus Facilities Program.

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