FTA awards $55M in grants for zero-emission buses

Posted on February 6, 2015

City of Louisville, Ky.
City of Louisville, Ky.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) selected 10 projects that will receive a share of $55 million in competitive grants to help put a new generation of advanced, non-polluting transit buses on the road in communities nationwide. Funding is provided through FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo).

FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers announced the grants in Louisville, Ky., home of one of the grant recipients, the Transit Authority of River City (TARC). She was joined at the announcement by TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker and other local officials.

“As the nation’s population and transit ridership continue to rise, we must invest in innovative technologies that will help transit agencies like TARC expand their bus fleets and bring a new generation of energy-efficient buses to Louisville and cities and towns nationwide,” Flowers said. “These grant awards will also help create new jobs and support a growing industry of domestic manufacturers who are developing advanced technologies to power public transportation for the future.”

Newly established under MAP-21, the LoNo program focuses on deploying the cleanest and most energy-efficient U.S.-made transit buses designed to cut carbon pollution and other traditional pollutants. Grants from the LoNo program will help transit agencies integrate more of these cutting-edge buses into their fleets.

Among the projects selected include:

  • TARC, the transit agency for the Louisville and southern Indiana area, will receive $3.3 million to deploy five Proterra battery-electric buses and a fast charging station. The zero-emission buses will increase TARC's fleet of battery-electric buses, and the charger will work with TARC's existing chargers to expand the area that the battery-electric buses serve.
  • Sunline Transit Agency, in partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments, will receive $9.8 million to deploy five hydrogen electric hybrid fuel cell buses. Ballard Power Systems, BAE Systems and ElDorado National will team up to build the new zero-emission buses, which will increase Sunline’s current fleet of fuel cell buses and allow the agency to offer expanded transit service in the Coachella Valley area of Southern California.
  • The Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) in Lancaster, Pa., will receive approximately $2.6 million to purchase 17 electric-hybrid buses to replace current diesel buses that are at the end of their useful life. The new, low emission buses will be manufactured by BAE Systems and Gillig. Fourteen buses will go to RRTA, and three will go to the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority (BARTA). The two agencies, which serve Berks and Lancaster counties in Pa., recently merged their management and administrative functions to create the South Central Transit Authority. Each agency will retain the RRTA and BARTA names on their buses.

Demand for LoNo funding far exceeded available funds. FTA received 50 project proposals requesting a total of $200 million. Priority was given to proposals that funded the incremental difference between a standard bus and a LoNo vehicle as a way to stretch procurement dollars farther; incorporated the highest level of U.S.-made content; and demonstrated a long-term commitment to expanding green energy bus fleets. For a full list of recipients, click here.

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