The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is awarding nearly $14 million in grants for alternative fuel buses to serve communities around the state.
The funding comes from the Volkswagen Settlement Trust, which is providing Colorado with approximately $68 million as a result of the Dieselgate settlement. The newly announced awards go to six transit agencies through the first year of CDOT’s Division of Transit & Rail’s Settlement Alt-fuel Bus Replacement Program, which incentivizes agencies to replace conventional fuel buses with alternative fuel vehicles.
The awards will remove 28 aging diesel buses from Colorado roads, replacing them with one compressed natural gas (CNG) bus, three propane autogas buses and 24 battery-electric buses, plus related electric bus charging equipment.
The Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority was awarded $181,700 for the CNG bus, and the City of Ft. Collins was awarded $116,268 for the propane autogas buses. The electric bus grants went to the cities of Boulder, Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins; Eagle County; and the Regional Transportation District.
“This is a great step forward in making our transportation system cleaner and more efficient,” says CDOT’s executive director, Shoshana Lew. “CDOT is committed to reducing congestion on the ground and in the air, through enhanced multimodal options and new technologies, such as these buses.”
“This investment will help our communities expand transit to be cleaner and will help all of Colorado move to a more sustainable energy future,” says Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo. “Expanding travel options and choices will help to reduce traffic and congestion, and when vehicles are using clean energy, we all win with cleaner air.”
A beneficiary mitigation plan (BMP), which defines how Colorado will use the VW settlement funds, is led by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in partnership with CDOT, the Colorado Energy Office, and the Regional Air Quality Council.
In January, Polis issued an executive order advancing zero-emission vehicles, which directed state agencies to modify the BMP so that future settlement investments will support electric vehicles. CDOT will seek additional competitive applications for electric buses this fall. CDOT, in partnership with the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies, is providing training and support for fleet electrification and maintenance so that more transit agencies will be eligible and prepared to compete for funding in subsequent competitive rounds.