On Monday, the Obama Administration announced $100 million in Economic Recovery Act funding for 43 transit agencies pursuing cutting-edge environmental technologies to help reduce global warming, lessen America's dependence on oil and create green jobs.
"This is a sign of things to come," said U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, who made the announcement in Atlanta, the site of the largest award. "This shows how investing in green transportation not only helps the planet, but creates jobs and strengthens our economy. It also shows how much more we can do."
The 43 winning proposals were submitted by transit agencies from across the country as part of a nationwide competition for $100 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds. Selection criteria included a project's ability to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and also to provide a return on the investment. Other criteria included readiness to implement, applicant capacity, degree of innovation and national applicability. The Federal Transit Administration reviewed more than $2 billion in applications for these funds.
"These grants will put Americans to work now while improving our environment in the future," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "The transit industry continues to be at the forefront of reducing pollution and creating a cleaner, safer environment for our nation."
Winning project proposals include:
Montgomery Area (Ala.) Transit System, $2,675,000. Purchase of Five Hybrid Electric Buses: City of Montgomery-MATS proposes to purchase 30-35 foot low floor hybrid-electric buses in order to replace existing transit system buses.
AC Transit (Oakland, Calif.), $6,400,000. Install photovoltaic capacity to generate "green" hydrogen: Install multiple PV modules at its Central Maintenance Facility in Hayward. Combined with AC Transit's already-installed solar capacity, this solar installation will produce the renewable electricity equivalent to what will be required to produce 180 kg/day of "green" hydrogen.
City of Santa Clarita, Calif., $4,620,000. Photovoltaic Modules on Transit Maintenance Facility: Add photovoltaic (PV) modules to the Transit Maintenance Facility (TMF) to generate electricity to offset the electric power consumed at the TMF site. The PV modules will be placed on top of canopies that will generate electricity while providing shade for full-size inter-city and commuter buses.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $4,466,000. Red Line Westlake Rail Wayside Energy Storage System: Install wayside energy storage substation (WESS) at Westlake passenger station is at-grade level on the high-speed heavy rail subway Red Line. The nearby traction power substation will be switched off when the WESS is operating. The WESS flywheel technology captures regenerative braking energy when trains slow or stop and transfer back to same train or another train when it starts or accelerates, reducing energy demand and peak power requirements.
Connecticut Department of Transportation (statewide) $7,000,000. Stationary Fuel Cells and Hybrid Transit Buses Incremental Costs: The purchase of diesel-electric hybrid transit buses and stationary fuel cells for use in the statewide bus system in Connecticut. This grant would allow ConnDOT to upgrade the upcoming purchases of buses and would fund the incremental cost of a hybrid bus compared to a conventional bus. It would also fund stationary fuel cells to provide primary and emergency back-up power for the bus maintenance and storage facilities.
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, $10,800,000. Laredo Bus Facility Solar Canopies: Provide shade structures with integrated, grid tied photovoltaic cells to be erected on the bus storage lot at the Laredo Bus Maintenance Facility. PV canopies will produce power and reduce temperatures underneath canopies. MARTA anticipates that the power produced by these photovoltaic panels will be sold to Georgia Power under their Distributed Generation Contract Program. The largest PV installation in Georgia.
City of Charlotte/Charlotte Area Transit System (Charlotte, N.C.), $3,000,000. Hybrid Buses: Upgrade a planned order of buses from diesel to hybrid technology. CATS' fleet and financial plans call for the replacement 1998, 1999 and 2007 year diesel buses with new diesel buses in fiscal year 2012. This project will upgrade the replacement buses to hybrid technology.