U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Nov. 17 announced that 46 innovative transit projects chosen for their capacity to help cut the nation’s dependence on oil and create a marketplace for 21st century “green” jobs will share $112 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
“These grants will put thousands of Americans back to work building sustainable, energy-efficient transit vehicles and facilities across the country,” LaHood said in a written statement from the U.S. DOT. “The Obama Administration is committed to investing in the cutting-edge transportation projects that will keep our economy moving forward.”
Projects were selected through the FTA’s competitive Fiscal Year 2011 Sustainability Initiative, which includes funding from two FTA programs: the Clean Fuels Grant Program and the TIGGER III (Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) Grant Program.
Examples of key projects receiving federal funds include:
- South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s Tri-Rail project will receive approximately $5.7 million from the TIGGER III Program to showcase Tri-Rail’s first green, LEED certified, sustainable stations, which will generate more than 100 percent of the station’s energy demand through solar panels. The project will send excess energy back to the power grid and store daytime energy for nighttime lighting of the station, parking area, and other parts of the facility.
- The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will receive two grants, one for $5 million to replace diesel buses with hybrid buses that will reduce fuel costs and save money, and another for $1.4 million to install a “wayside energy storage system” on the Market-Frankford rail line, consisting of a battery that stores energy generated by braking trains. The stored electrical power can then be used later whenever energy is needed.
- The Connecticut Department of Transportation will receive $5 million to purchase a stationary fuel cell for CTTransit’s New Haven Division Bus maintenance facility. The fuel cell will provide up to 3.3 million kilowatt-hours per year, or aproximately 59 percent of the facility’s annual electric use.
Clean Fuels Grant recipients were awarded competitively based on the project’s 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.
TIGGER III grants were competitively awarded based on the ability of projects to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while providing a return on the investment. Since 2009, the TIGGER program has invested in numerous innovative transit projects that have brought to market advanced fuel-cell and hydrogen-powered buses and allow for the development of sustainable transportation stations.
“The Federal Transit Administration is tapping into American innovation and ingenuity to develop and build leading edge energy efficient transportation technologies,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “These continued investments help combat the pain commuters feel at the gas pump and curb the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the air we breathe.”
The Federal Transit Administration reviewed 266 project applications for both grant programs representing more than $1 billion in funding requests from transit providers across the country. A full list of successful proposals can be found here.