University of Alabama to receive $8 million in funding for electric buses

The University of Alabama will receive nearly $8 million in federal funding for new electric buses.

The money will allow UA to replace a quarter of its current transit system buses, known as the Crimson Ride, with the new electric buses.

“For the community on our University of Alabama campus, this announcement means better, greener buses and a cleaner, healthier environment,” U.S. Representative Terri Sewell said in a news release Tuesday.

UA will provide $2 million in matching funds, bringing the project to a total of $10 million. Part of the money will be used to install electric charging infrastructure for the eight new Crimson Ride buses. UA will work with Shelton State Community College to train bus maintenance workers as part of a workforce development initiative.

Crimson Ride provides approximately 2 million rides annually to the campus community, including off-campus stops and service on football game days, according to UA.

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In a press release from UA, President Stuart Bell said: “Modifying the current fleet will allow Crimson Ride Transit to accommodate campus population growth while moving resources to where they can best be served. used. Switching to electric buses will reduce emissions and have an immediate impact on our region.

01/19/10 -- Tuscaloosa, AL -- Alabama students board the Green 2 bus, part of the Crimson Ride fleet, UA's mass transit system, outside the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on Tuesday January 19, 2010 driven by Ken Crout.  (Michelle Lepianka Carter/Tuscaloosa News)

The new electric buses, along with the infrastructure and technicians needed to support the vehicles, will be phased in over the next few years, said James Knickrehm, who oversees the campus transit system as Associate Director of UA Transportation Services.

UA said savings realized from the retirement of aging diesel buses will provide the opportunity to expand routes and expand coverage to other areas of Tuscaloosa to provide zero-emissions transit service to residents.

The funding is part of a $1.66 billion investment by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 150 bus fleets and facilities across the country to reduce pollution, the news release said.

UA was the only university to receive funding directly in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest announcement. The bus grants are the department’s first competitive grant selections under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, enacted in November 2021 in the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act.

Sewell said the bipartisan infrastructure law will channel a total of more than $21 million to be used for clean transit buses in Alabama. In addition to the $8 million for UA, the credit also includes more than $13 million for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority

The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority will receive $13,654,636 to build a new maintenance facility and purchase compressed natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell buses, battery electric buses and charging equipment.

Contact Ken Roberts at [email protected].

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