September 14, 2012

FTA releases $59M for clean energy buses

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) FY 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program will give 27 projects a combined $59.3 million to help transit agencies purchase and support cleaner, greener buses that reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy while also delivering a more comfortable, reliable ride for passengers.

The types of projects selected to receive funding include replacing aging diesel buses with new hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) or zero-emissions electric vehicles; building new fueling stations to accommodate alternative-fuel vehicles; and purchasing new clean-fuel hybrid batteries for buses.

Demand for FY2012 funding was competitive, with FTA receiving 146 project applications totaling $516 million. A list of all 27 project selections, and a related map, can be found here.

Some projects selected for funding include:

•    $3.3 million for the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission in St. Cloud, Minn. to renovate its Metro Bus Operations Center so the facility can accommodate a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles and a CNG fueling station.

•    $4.4 million for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Ky., to replace outdated, high-emission trolley cars with zero-emission buses, which will bring the transit system into compliance with federal clean air requirements for the first time and enable the transit authority to save on operating costs for years to come.

•    $2.5 million for Florida’s Miami-Dade County to retrofit older buses with new electric engine cooling systems that will improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and prolong the life of the transit bus fleet.

•    $4.5 million for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority in Worcester, Mass., to replace aging diesel transit buses with zero-emission, all-electric buses, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease fuel consumption, and save on operating costs.

In FY 2010 and FY 2011, FTA’s Clean Fuels Program awarded $89.7 million for 36 projects and $62.8 million for 29 projects, respectively. This year’s projects were competitively selected based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

Transit ridership across the U.S. has increased 16 out of the last 19 months, and in July 2012, ridership was up by 2.5% over the prior 12-month period.

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