- The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has selected communities to receive nearly $84.5 million in funding for transit projects through the Low- or No-Emission Grant program.
- A share of the funding will go to 52 projects in 41 states. Some of the included cities are Chapel Hill, NC; Chicago; Gainesville, FL; Greensboro, NC; Jackson, MS; Lexington, KY; Nashua, NH; Port Arthur, TX; Rochester, MN; Shreveport, LA; and Wichita, KS. Other grant recipients are tribal, regional and state transportation authorities.
- Eligible projects are those with transit buses that use "advanced propulsion technology," such as hybrid or battery-electric engines, and related infrastructure, such as charging stations.
With few exceptions, the FTA funding is going toward new battery-electric buses and charging infrastructure, although some is going toward other things like training or upgrading facilities. This spring, the FTA provided $264 million in grants for general improvements and upgrades to cities' bus systems and structures, but the current round of funding relates specifically to more environmentally friendly transit options.
Many innovative solutions have emerged to get people around cities while reducing traffic congestion. Some of them are private ventures, such as ride-sharing, and others are public-private ventures, such as microtransit. Still, public transportation leads the pack of car alternatives, and buses remain the most-used form of transit throughout the country.
While trying to woo back customers during a time when transit ridership has dipped nationwide from its 2013-2014 peak, transit agencies simultaneously are looking to make bus systems more efficient and environmentally friendly. However, battery-electric vehicles and the related infrastructure are still emerging technologies, often rendering them pricier than traditional models. Receiving the federal assistance will allow the 52 projects to advance and contribute to cleaner transit systems.