Little Rock, Ark.’s Rock Region METRO was awarded $3.5 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds to purchase seven compressed natural gas (CNG) buses slated to join the METRO fleet in 2020. This is the largest FTA competitive grant for bus and bus facilities METRO has received.
“This award will greatly assist us in ensuring our fleet is reliable and safe for riders,” said Wanda Crawford, METRO interim executive director. “With careful financial planning from our board and staff and the help of these funds, we continue to make progress on our fleet replacement plan to transition all diesel-fueled METRO buses with compressed natural gas buses by the end of 2025 and maintaining bus size diversity.”
The grant provides an 85% funding match for three 40-foot CNG and four 35-foot CNG buses. The agency will order the buses in fall 2018. The new buses replace what will be three 17-year-old, 35-foot buses; one 13-year-old, 35-foot-bus; and three 13-year-old 40-foot buses in 2020.
A total of 139 projects in 52 states and territories were funded through the 2017 FTA bus and bus facilities grant program.
“Grant funding such as this made available through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is critical to improving long-term planning and project finance for public transit infrastructure across our country. METRO continues to pursue a dedicated funding source for central Arkansas public transit service so we may have the matching fund reserves to compete for even more federal transportation funding,” said Crawford.