US $1.66 billion grant for new buses aims to reduce emissions

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it is providing $1.66 billion in grants to cities and states to purchase 1,800 buses as part of a transition to cleaner, low-emission travel.

The grants will fund 1,100 zero-emission buses, nearly doubling the existing 1,300 zero-emission transit buses, the White House said.

Funding 150 bus fleets through the $1 trillion Infrastructure Act of 2021 will help cities and states retire polluting older buses.

The funding will also purchase 700 buses, including hybrid electric, natural gas and diesel models. “These grants are going to be used in every corner of this country,” White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters.

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Buses account for about half of the 10 billion U.S. transit trips Americans made in 2019. But there are still few green buses — just 18% of the 72,000 transit buses in the U.S. were hybrid electric in 2020, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Public transit has suffered from COVID-19 as tens of millions of Americans work from home and limit business and tourist travel, but systems are reporting increasing use as Americans return to work and travel.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the busiest public transit system in the United States, will receive $116 million to purchase about 230 electric buses to replace older diesels, electrifying nearly 4% of its fleet of 5,800 buses.

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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will receive $104.1 million to acquire approximately 160 electric buses to replace older compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, while the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will receive $116 million to purchase up to 85 electric buses to replace. diesel models.

The Infrastructure Act provides $5.5 billion over five years for bus subsidies, six times previous funding levels, and $2 billion for the purchase and rehabilitation of buses and the construction of facilities. bus maintenance.

Memphis will receive $54 million to build an operations/maintenance facility, while New Jersey Transit will receive $44.6 million to renovate its Union City garage near New York and create a public bus terminal. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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