The US Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has once again demonstrated its commitment to sustainable public transportation by awarding funding for electric buses. In a significant move, 130 awards worth nearly $1.7 billion have been allocated to public transport projects in 46 states and territories.
With this funding, over 1,700 new buses will be added to the nation's roads, marking a substantial step towards a greener future. Approximately half of these buses will be zero-emission vehicles, though an exact count of electric buses is not mentioned. Nonetheless, this latest announcement is expected to raise the number of zero-emission transit buses in the country to over 1,800, effectively more than doubling the current count of such eco-friendly vehicles traversing America's roadways.
In the preceding year, 1,100 zero-emission buses were already subsidized, suggesting that at least 700 additional zero-emission buses will receive funding through this second round of investment.
The FTA's press release highlights several notable projects set to benefit from the funding. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) plans to utilize $104 million to electrify an entire bus depot and acquire approximately 100 battery-electric buses. Similarly, King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Washington, is poised to purchase around 30 electric buses with a budget of $33.5 million. Furthermore, the Ohio Department of Transportation will receive $29.3 million to support ten transit agencies serving both rural and urban communities in replacing their older vehicles with dozens of low- or zero-emission buses. A comprehensive list of the projects can be found at the end of this article.
To be eligible for funding, the vehicles must be manufactured within the United States. Moreover, many of the grant recipients have committed to purchasing standardized buses and vans without customization, enabling faster delivery and reduced costs.
The billion-dollar funding encompasses the procurement expenses for the vehicles and associated infrastructure, while also allocating resources for additional training programs. These training initiatives will focus on equipping mechanics, who currently maintain and repair diesel buses, with the skills required to service electric vehicles.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed his enthusiasm for the development, stating, “Every day, over 60,000 buses in communities of all sizes take millions of Americans to work, school, and everywhere else they need to go. Today's announcement means more clean buses, less pollution, more jobs in manufacturing and maintenance, and better commutes for families across the country.”
In addition to the aforementioned funding, reports indicate that the US government has set aside at least $400 million in 2023 to promote “clean” school buses and the necessary infrastructure. This allocation underscores the government's dedication to fostering sustainable transportation solutions for future generations.