The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has chosen several natural gas fuel projects, including at least 10 involving compressed natural gas (CNG), for its Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program, which will help provide more modern, reliable bus service for transit riders across the country.
According to the FTA, 61 projects in 41 states, the Virgin Islands and Indian Country will receive a share of nearly $211 million to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase transit buses and related equipment and construct bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance.
“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.”
“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. “Maintaining our public transit systems in a state of good repair is vitally important to meet the needs of today’s transit riders and a growing population.”
Among the projects selected to receive 2016 Bus Program funding are the following:
- The Mass Transportation Authority in Flint, Mich., will receive $12.8 million to purchase CNG buses and for a workforce development training program for mechanics and bus drivers.
- 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 L.A. area. The LACMTA will also install related CNG infrastructure and train workers on the new technology.
- The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Florida 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 will receive $0.4 million to purchase a new CNG bus for service in the Birmingham region.
- The Central Arkansas Transit Authority 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.
- The Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District in Illinois will receive $0.39 million to replace diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life with CNG buses.
- Sacramento Regional Transit District in California 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 in 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.
According to the FTA, demand for its bus program has far exceeded available funds, as the FTA received 284 applications totaling $1.64 billion from 236 applicants in 47 states. 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 Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2015, authorized the FTA’s competitive Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program through 2020.