FTA awards grants for 1,100 electric buses in the USA
In the USA, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced $1.66 billion in grants that will benefit transit agencies, territories and states to modernise their bus fleets and facilities. The agency has released a list of 150 projects that will receive funding.
The grant selections are to provide for more than 1,800 new buses, more than 1,100 of which will have zero local emissions. The FTA says that this year’s funding alone will nearly double the number of zero-emission transit buses on US roads. For the first time, five per cent of the funding is earmarked for training transit staff on how to maintain and operate new bus technology.
In March this year, the US government announced that it is awarding nearly $1.5 billion in grants in 2022 to modernise bus fleets and facilities across the country. These grant selections are the FTA’s first competitive grant selections under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help transit agencies purchase or lease U.S.-built low- or no-emission vehicles and associated equipment or facilities. The bus grants are awarded under FTA’s Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission Vehicle (Low-No) programmes. The provision of these grants is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to expanding transport infrastructure, creating and sustaining jobs, and combating climate change.
“With today’s awards, we’re helping communities across America – in cities, suburbs, and rural areas alike – purchase more than 1,800 new buses, and most of them are zero-emission,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this announcement means more good jobs for people across the country, cleaner air in our communities, and more affordable and reliable options to help people get to where they need to go.”
Among those receiving funding is the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which will reportedly receive $116 million to purchase about 230 battery-electric buses to replace older diesel buses. The FTA says that this is to electrify nearly four per cent of its 5,800-bus fleet and launch a comprehensive workforce training and development programme.
In California, $104.1 million will go to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to purchase about 160 battery-electric buses to replace older natural gas buses, as well as charging equipment. The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) will receive $54 million to build an operations and maintenance facility for more than 300 vehicles. The Colorado Department of Transportation will receive $34.7 million to benefit the Summit Stage rural transit agency for the construction of a bus depot. The FTA has published a full list of funded projects here.
“When a transit door opens, whether it is a bus, train, or ferry, it is a great equalizer for everyone in our nation,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “With this tremendous amount of funding, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law gives more Americans access to the opportunities that transit creates, more often, in more places. These investments also help us meet our goals of cutting transportation emissions, creating good-paying American manufacturing jobs, and helping America’s transit workers prepare for new vehicle technology.”
As mentioned above, the bus grants are awarded under FTA’s Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission Vehicle (Low-No) programmes. The FTA’s Low-No-Grant Program is tasked with providing funds to assist transit agencies with the purchase or lease of U.S.-manufactured low- or zero-emission vehicles, including related equipment or facilities. The Infrastructure Act provides $5.5 billion over five years for this purpose, which the FTA says is more than six times the previous five years of funding. For the 2022 financial year, about $1.17 billion was available for grants under this programme.
The FTA Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Programme assists transit agencies with the purchase and rehabilitation of buses and vans and the construction of bus maintenance facilities. The Infrastructure Act provides nearly two billion dollars over five years for this programme. For the 2022 financial year, approximately $550 million was available for grants under this programme.
Large electric bus orders are becoming increasingly common as governments across the world hurry to decarbonise their public transport services. Just a few days ago, Switch Mobility, the UK subsidiary of Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland, and Indian transport company Chalo entered into a strategic cooperation to deploy 5,000 electric buses across India. Earlier that same week, in Chile, the capital of Santiago revealed an order of 1,022 zero-emission buses from the Chinese manufacturer Foton.