FTA awards $1.5 billion in bus grants

Source: Mass Transit Magazine
July 10, 2024

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded $1.5 billion in bus grants to support 117 projects that will improve public transportation in 47 states. The funding comes from the Low- or No-Emission Program and the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program, which will help transit agencies replace aging buses, reduce air pollution, provide good-paying jobs and improve the reliability of transit systems.

“Today, another 117 communities across 47 states are receiving the good news that their transit buses are being modernized and their commutes improved through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Biden-Harris Administration is helping agencies replace old buses running on dirtier, expensive fuels by delivering modern and zero-emission buses, manufactured by American workers, that will connect more people to where they need to go.”

USDOT notes about 80 percent of the buses being funded will run on zero- or low-emission technology, reducing air pollution and helping meet the country’s goal of zero emissions by 2050. The funding programs also advance President Joe Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments in climate, clean energy, clean transportation and other areas flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are creating new opportunities to improve the lives of millions of Americans who rely daily on buses,” said FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool. “These grants will help deliver cleaner and greener transportation, designed to reach everyone and to work for everyone, particularly in places that haven’t received enough resources in the past.”

For this year’s selections, FTA prioritized awards that will help strengthen U.S. bus manufacturing, stabilize the cost of new buses and accelerate the delivery of new vehicles. Of the 117 projects selected, 47 projects totaling $817 million are from applicants that committed to procuring standard model buses or using a joint procurement. FTA notes that buying standardized bus models without customization can shorten manufacturing timelines and contain costs.

Examples of projects receiving funding include:

  • New Jersey Transit will receive approximately $99.5 million to build a charging facility with a solar canopy at its Meadowlands Bus Garage. This project will allow New Jersey Transit to shelter, charge and support the deployment of battery-electric buses with renewable energy while increasing service and advancing environmental justice throughout the state.
  • The Sacramento Regional Transportation District will receive $76.8 million to buy up to 29 new hydrogen fuel cell buses to replace older buses, modernize a maintenance facility and initiate a workforce development program. The project will improve service, reliability and air quality throughout the greater Sacramento, Calif., area.
  • The Colorado Department of Transportation, on behalf of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), will receive $32.8 million to modernize its Glenwood Springs Operations and Maintenance Facility to support its future zero-emission bus fleet. This project will help RFTA, which serves three counties and eight municipalities in rural central Colorado, achieve its goal of a 100 percent zero-emission bus fleet by 2050.
  • The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in Orlando, Fla., will receive $27.6 million to buy up to 30 compressed natural gas buses to replace older diesel buses on routes throughout central Florida. The project will support LYNX’s efforts to transition its entire fleet to a combination of low- and zero-emission vehicles by 2028, as well as provide more efficient and reliable service to its riders.

In response to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, FTA received 477 eligible project proposals, totaling $9 billion in requests. The full list of projects being funded can be found on FTA’s website.

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