U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Sept. 14 announced that 27 projects will receive 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 funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) FY 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program will help achieve President Obama’s goal for an independent and secure energy future.
“President Obama is committed to investing in sustainable transportation systems that improve access to jobs, education and medical care for millions of riders, while bringing cleaner air to our communities and reducing our dependence on oil,” LaHood said in a press release. “These projects will also help transit agencies operate more efficiently, and save money in the long run.”
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.
“As more and more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere, it’s good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won’t pollute their neighborhoods while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence,” said FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff. “By investing in these clean-fuel projects today, we’re helping to ensure that the nation’s transit services are good for the environment for years to come.”
Demand for FY2012 funding was competitive, with FTA receiving 146 project applications totaling $516 million. For a list of all 27 project selections and a related map, go to http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants_14835.html.
Some projects selected for funding include the following:
- $3.3 million for the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission in St. Cloud, Minnesota 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- $4.4 million for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky, to replace outdated, high-emission trolley cars with zero-emission buses, which will bring the transit system into compliance with federal clean air requirements for the first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; and
- $4.5 million for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority in Worcester, Massachusetts, 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 Administrator Rogoff 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 percent over the prior 12-month period.