The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has selected multiple natural gas fuel projects as part of its Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program that will help provide more modern, reliable bus service for transit riders across the country. At least ten of the projects are Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) related.
“The Obama Administration is committed to improving transportation options that connect people in rural and urban areas across the country to opportunities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will improve mobility for thousands of transit riders who depend on bus service every day, expanding access to employment, education, healthcare, and other important services in their communities.”
Selected projects include those that replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate and construct bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance.
“FTA is proud to partner with state, local and tribal authorities to invest in projects that will help improve the condition of our nation’s public transportation bus fleets,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers.
Among the projects selected to receive 2016 Bus Program funding:
- The Mass Transportation Authority in Flint, Michigan, will receive $12.8 million for the purchase of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses and a workforce development training program for mechanics and bus driver.
- The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) in California will receive $10.5 million for the replacement of buses that have met their useful life with CNG buses to operate in the South Bay LA area. LACMTA will also install related CNG infrastructure and train workers on the new technology.
- The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) (FL) will receive $4.3 million to purchase CNG buses to replace diesel buses that have reached the end of their useful life.
- The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (AL) will receive $0.4 million to purchase a new CNG bus for service in the Birmingham region.
- The Central Arkansas Transit Authority (AR) in Little Rock, known as Rock Region Metro, will receive $1.65 million to purchase CNG buses to replace vehicles that have met their useful life. “This award will greatly assist us in bringing modern transit to central Arkansas,” said Jarod Varner, METRO 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 Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (Metrolink) (IL) will receive $0.39 million to replace diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life with CNG buses.
- Sacramento Regional Transit District (CA) will receive $0.69 million to replace buses that have met their useful life with new CNG-fueled buses and $0.4 million to replace CNG fueling equipment at a bus maintenance facility.
- The Transit Authority of the City of Omaha (Metro), Nebraska will receive $2.4 million to purchase new CNG buses and partner with local community and workforce development centers to integrate public transit into the local workforce development experience.
- The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority will receive $1.9 million to purchase new CNG replacement buses for their fixed route service in Oklahoma City.
- River Valley Transit will receive $2 million to purchase new CNG replacement buses in Williamsport, PA.
Project proposals were evaluated based on criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, with priority given to projects that address significant repair and maintenance needs, improve the safety of transit systems, include advanced technologies to connect bus systems with other networks, and support the creation of ladders of opportunity.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in December 2015, authorized FTA’s competitive Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program through 2020.
(Source: Federal Transit Administration)