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Biden Administration invests $1.5 billion in clean buses –

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1 of 2 | Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks during a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in 2023. The Department of Transportation announced a $1.5 billion investment in clean buses Thursday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 8 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing $1.5 billion in zero-emission buses and the infrastructure, facilities and workforce that go along with them.

The new investment builds on previous clean bus investments and is designed to help replace America’s fleet of aging buses, reduce air pollution, create jobs and improve transit system reliability, according to a release from the Transportation Department, which touts the plan as supporting U.S. manufacturing while putting cleaner buses on the road.

The money is part of the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and its Investing in America agenda.

“More funding for buses means less traffic congestion on the road, less pollution in the air and more jobs for American workers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “Thanks to the president’s infrastructure law, we are bringing thousands of new, clean buses to communities large and small across the country.”

The program will allow transit agencies to buy or lease U.S.-built zero-emission and low-emission buses and charging equipment.

“[The Federal Transit Authority] is also focused on strengthening U.S. bus manufacturing, which can stabilize the cost of new buses and accelerate delivery of new vehicles,” a Transportation Department statement said. “More standardized bus models will shorten manufacturing timelines, so transit agencies competing for funds are encouraged to consider strategies to avoid customization.”

The FTA said the infrastructure and workforce development investments will help get the buses on the road quickly.

“Buying new buses, including many vehicles that use new technology to cut carbon pollution, will promote cleaner, faster and safer rides as we move toward a better future,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez.

Fernandez added the FTA is also coming up with ways to cut production costs and shorten production timelines in the United States.

The Biden administration is projected to spend an additional $5 billion on clean bus programs to replace the country’s aging fleet.

Past recipients of federal funding for clean buses and infrastructure include the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which  was awarded $104 million to convert its Lorton, Va., bus garage to a fully electric facility, buy battery-electric buses and develop a workforce training program for drivers, mechanics and first responders to ensure safe and efficient operations of the fleet.

King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Wash., was awarded $33.5 million to buy battery-electric buses and charging equipment as well as train workers to maintain the electric fleet. The project will convert 27 bus routes that serve low-income areas and expand Metro’s apprenticeship program, including promoting transit careers for residents in underserved communities.

The Ohio Department of Transportation was awarded $29.3 million to help 10 transit agencies serving both rural and urban communities buy dozens of low- or no-emission buses that will replace older vehicles.

And the White Earth Reservation Business Committee in Montana was awarded $723,171 to buy low-emission buses with electronic farebox systems to replace older vehicles. The new buses will enable the agency to reduce fuel costs while continuing to provide much-needed bus service in rural communities on the reservation in northwest Minnesota.

“With this year’s new round of funding, more transit agencies across the country will be able to build, repair, expand and improve fleets and the facilities that support them,” the Transportation Department said.

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