State of Virginia Earmarks $12M for Electric Transit Buses

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Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va., has announced that more than $12 million in state funding will be allocated to deploy electric transit buses in three Virginia localities, using nearly $9 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Trust).

In total, 17 electric buses, along with charging infrastructure, be deployed by local transit systems in Alexandria, Blacksburg and Hampton Roads.

The $9 million from the VW Trust will be augmented by $3.5 million from the statewide transit capital program, as well as another $6.5 million in federal and local funds. This allocation is part of a commitment announced last fall of $14 million in VW Trust funding for electric transit buses. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will make the remaining $5 million of the $14 million initial allocation available for electric transit buses for next year’s transit grant cycle, which will open on Dec. 1, 2019.

“Electric buses are a key component of Virginia’s strategy to address the climate crisis, reduce air pollution in our communities and drive innovation across the commonwealth,” says Northam. “We are demonstrating how entrepreneurs, government and industry partners are coming together to implement the best renewable energy technologies available and power the clean economy.”

Recipients include as follows:

  • Alexandria (DASH): $5.1 million for six battery-electric transit buses and fast chargers;
  • Blacksburg Transit: $3.3 million for five battery-electric transit buses and fast chargers; and
  • Hampton Roads Transit: $3.9 million for six battery-electric transit buses and fast chargers.

Funding recipients must purchase the electric buses and place them into service within two years.

“Transitioning high-usage, low-efficiency bus fleets from diesel to electric is a critically important step toward reducing carbon pollution in the transportation sector,” says Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, Matthew J. Strickler. “This funding makes it easier for three key transit agencies to begin making that switch and help us meet our clean air goals.”

“Thanks to efforts from the State of Virginia, we can be on a quicker path to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, remove harmful pollution from our air and leverage more energy efficient technology to power our transportation systems,” says Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra, which was selected as a vendor. “Proterra has helped more than 90 North American transit agencies, airports and universities transition to zero-emission electric buses, and we look forward to helping more transit agencies in Virginia transition to electric vehicle technology.”

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Steve Lund

To call electric vehicles zero emission is true, to call them environmentally friendly is not. A good percentage of electricity is generated by coal burning powerplants. Batteries to make electric buses operate are NOT environmentally friendly to build or dispose of. The rare metals (lithium and cobalt) needed to operate batteries are VERY environmentally unfriendly. Cobalt mines in Africa use 13 year old labor. RNG is a near zero emission non fossil fuel with identical properties to fossil natural gas. RNG, however, is produced by capturing methane released from animal wastes, disposal dump gases, and sewage waste. This prevents methane… Read more »