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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $55 Million in Grants to Support High-Tech Low-No Buses, American Manufacturing

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced $55 million in grant selections through the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle program, which funds the development of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced fuel technologies. Fifty-one projects in 39 states will receive a share of the funding.

“The projects selected through the highly-competitive Low-No program all demonstrate strong value to American communities,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “As transit providers nationwide face a backlog of maintenance needs, it is imperative to replace aging buses near the end of their useful life with newer, cleaner models that are also more efficient to operate and maintain.”

Eligible projects included those that replace, rehabilitate, lease, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, construct or lease bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance. Projects can also include workforce development components to train the next generation of transit employees. 

“The projects selected through the highly-competitive Low-No program all demonstrate strong value to American communities,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “As transit providers nationwide face a backlog of maintenance needs, it is imperative to replace aging buses near the end of their useful life with newer, cleaner models that are also more efficient to operate and maintain.”

Some examples of selected FY2017 Low-No projects include:

  • The City of Lubbock, Texas, and local transit agency Citibus will receive funding to purchase Proterra fast charge electric buses and charging infrastructure that will be used on the Texas Tech University campus. By replacing diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life with battery electric buses, Citibus will reduce overall fleet energy consumption, maintenance costs, and emissions.
  • The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) will receive funding to replace diesel buses with battery electric buses and chargers for an expansion route, which will serve a Park-n-Ride and a new logistics and distribution center that employs over 1,500 Jacksonville residents. Because the charging stations will utilize Jacksonville Electric Authority’s Solar Smart Power program, the buses will truly have zero emissions.
  • The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities will receive funding to purchase battery electric buses, associated charging infrastructure, and a backup generator to maintain bus service in disaster situations. Juneau, the capital of Alaska, has a clean, renewable source of energy in local hydropower. Transitioning the bus fleet to all-electric will eliminate emissions from diesel buses, as well eliminate the costly shipping of diesel fuel from over 900 miles away.

Eligible recipients included transit agencies, state transportation departments, and Indian tribes. Projects were selected on a competitive basis using evaluation criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, such as community needs, project benefits, and local technical and financial capacity.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2015, authorizes FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program, which includes the Low or No Emission Grants Program, through FY 2020.

 

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