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Federal government: $1.7 billion to help put better, cleaner buses on roads across country


Mon, Jun 26th 2023 01:45 pm

Awards include money for Seneca Nation of Indians

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced 130 awards totaling nearly $1.7 billion from President Joe Biden’s “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” for transit projects in 46 states and territories.

A press release stated, “This funding invests in more than 1,700 American-built buses that will be manufactured with American parts and labor. Nearly half of these buses will be zero-emission models, bringing the total number of zero-emission transit buses funded by the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’ over two years to more than 1,800 – and more than doubling the number of zero-emission transit buses on America’s roadways. Many of the grant recipients have pledged to buy standardized buses and vans and avoid customization, which will result in faster delivery and lower costs.

“In addition to investing in the future of transit, the awards announced today also invest in America’s workers. Twenty-two of the funded projects will operate with project labor agreements to ensure their efficient and timely completion, and 34 projects have committed to the gold standard model of registered apprenticeship, with supportive services such as child care for employees. In addition, the zero-emission bus grants include millions of dollars in funding for workforce programs that will train today’s internal combustion mechanics to become tomorrow’s electric motor technicians, and the projects will include millions of dollars in funding for workforce programs that help transition today’s diesel mechanics to tomorrow’s electric motor technicians.”

The awards announced today are part of Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “Every day, over 60,000 buses in communities of all sizes take millions of Americans to work, school, and everywhere else they need to go. Today’s announcement means more clean buses, less pollution, more jobs in manufacturing and maintenance, and better commutes for families across the country.”

This is the second bus grant package funded by Biden’s “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” which has now invested more than $3.3 billion in American transit buses and the infrastructure that supports them. The press release noted, “Over the next three years, record funding for American transit investment secured under President Biden’s leadership will provide almost $5 billion more.”

FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said, “Today, we are creating new opportunities to dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans who ride on buses every day.”

Examples of projects selected to receive fiscal year 2023 funding include the Seneca Nation of Indians in Western New York, which will receive nearly $6 million to replace an outdated maintenance facility with a new building that will serve as an operations hub for the Seneca Nation Department of Transportation, including the Seneca Transit System (STS). The building, which will allow STS to store and maintain transit buses, will serve as the jumping-off point for services in five New York counties.

See all FY 2023 projects here, or learn more in the data visualization tool.

These projects are supported by FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs. The Buses and Bus Facilities program provides federal funding for transit agencies to buy and rehabilitate buses and vans and build and modernize bus facilities. The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” provides nearly $2 billion through FY 2026 for the program. For FY 2023, approximately $473 million for grants was available under this program.

FTA’s Low-No program makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease American-built low- or zero-emission vehicles, including buses and vans; make facility and station upgrades to accommodate low- or zero-emission vehicles; and purchase supporting equipment like chargers for battery electric vehicles. The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” provides $5.5 billion through FY 2026 for the Low-No program. For FY 2023, approximately $1.22 billion was available for grants under this program.

For recipients of funding for zero-emission projects, free technical assistance by the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is available to support transit agencies’ shift to low- or zero-emission transit vehicles. For more information, visit RideElectric.gov.

In response to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, FTA received 475 eligible project proposals totaling approximately $8.7 billion in requests.

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