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US DOT announces more than $110m in funding for bus and ferry projects

Grants will help to expand advanced bus technologies in 38 states and enhance mobility for ferry users across the US.

Many of the projects will help finance the purchase of electric buses
Many of the projects will help finance the purchase of electric buses

Thirty-eight low or no emission bus projects in the US will receive funding from the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA).


The $84.9 million in grant selections are through the Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant programme, which funds the deployment of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced propulsion technologies.


The FTA has also announced approximately $32.8 million to improve the safety and reliability of America’s passenger ferries.


Projects selected


Eligible projects include the purchase or lease of buses powered by modern, efficient technologies. These include hydrogen fuel cells, battery electric engines, and related infrastructure investments such as charging stations.


The bus projects selected for the 2019 Low-No programme span 38 states and a full list can be found here. They include:

  • the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will receive $3 million to purchase all-electric buses and charging equipment and upgrade its bus facility to support electric charging for Advance Transit. The agency, which serves six communities in Vermont and New Hampshire near White River Junction, including the region’s largest employer, Dartmouth College, provides close to 900,000 trips per year;
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland Department of Transportation will receive $2.2 million to purchase battery electric buses and charging stations to determine the effectiveness of incorporating electric vehicles into its 95-vehicle fleet. The buses will debut on routes serving the University of Maryland, the popular National Harbour, and communities within Opportunity Zones;
  • Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) will receive $2.6 million to purchase battery electric buses and chargers that will replace diesel buses on two of its 108 routes. The new buses will be supported with a combination of on-route overhead charging and plug-in depot chargers.

"These grants will help communities nationwide bring the next generation of bus technology to enhance their transportation systems," said secretary Elaine Chao.


Passenger ferry grants


A total of nine projects in nine states will receive funding from FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Programme, which is designed to help purchase, replace or rehabilitate passenger ferries, terminals and related infrastructure and equipment.


"America’s waterways are a priceless asset, and the Passenger Ferry Grant Programme partners with local communities to leverage those assets to improve mobility for millions of Americans," said FTA acting administrator K Jane Williams at an event in Portland, Maine, where she announced a $3.4 million ferry grant to the Casco Bay Island Transit District.


Casco Bay Island Transit provides year-round ferry service between the islands of Casco Bay and Portland, Maine, transporting residents to services on the mainland and supporting the islands’ economies.

"These grants will help communities nationwide bring the next generation of bus technology to enhance their transportation systems"

The grant will help upgrade a ferry terminal built in 1988 that was designed to serve 500,000 passengers a year. Since then, passenger traffic has increased to 1.1 million passengers annually. The renovations will expand passenger queuing and boarding areas, improving safety and efficiency.


Among the other projects selected to receive funding are:

  • Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK), serving the Quad Cities metropolitan area in Illinois and Iowa, will receive $1.2 million to construct a new ferry terminal at the Village of East Davenport that will enhance service for passengers;
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will receive $5.9 million to upgrade passenger ferry slips at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ, to maintain safety and enhance service reliability for its passengers;
  • Chatham Area Transit Authority in Savannah, Georgia will receive close to $1.3 million to acquire a new passenger ferry vessel to expand service and enhance service reliability for its passengers.

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