The U.S. Transportation Department is distributing $1.66 billion in grants to cities and states across the country to update bus fleets to lower-emission vehicles, in an effort to make public transportation greener.
Around 1,800 buses will be purchases, with the White House saying 1,100 of those will be zero-emissions, as reported by Reuters. That will almost double the existing 1,300 zero-emission transit buses around the U.S.
This all comes from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed in 2021. Part of that bill is aimed at helping cities and states replace aging, heavily polluting bus fleets.
Buses account for about half of the 10 billion U.S. transit trips Americans took in 2019. But there are still few green buses - just 18% of the 72,000 U.S. transit buses were hybrid electric in 2020, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
Public transit suffered through COVID-19 as tens of millions of Americans worked from home and curbed business and tourism travel, but systems are reporting increasing use as Americans return to offices and travel.
Locales that will be provided the more significant amounts of funding include New York City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Massachusetts Bay and New Jersey. According to Reuters, $116 million of the trillion-dollar infrastructure funding will go to the MTA, one of the busiest transit systems in the country. The MTA says it’s directing that funding to purchase 230 electric buses — essentially electrifying just 4 percent of its 5,800-bus fleet. Los Angeles and Massachusetts Bay have similar objectives to the MTA’s — Los Angeles receiving $104.1 million, and Massachusetts Bay, $116 million.
“These grants are going to be used in every corner of this country,” White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters.
Altogether, the country will receive a total of $7.5 billion over five years to fund new buses and repair current bus infrastructure, including transportation and maintenance facilities.