State gets nearly $800K in federal funds to buy electric buses

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Transportation (AOT) today announced the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded federal funds to Vermont for the purchase of electric public transit vehicles through the Low or No Emission Program.

"As we continue our work on COVID-19 response and recovery, we remain committed to supporting the transportation needs of our rural communities, especially for essential workers and services,” said Governor Scott. “Growing the state’s fleet of electric public transit vehicles is a vital strategy in meeting our energy goals and reducing vehicle emissions.”

The FTA will provide $793,420, which will cover 80% of the cost of four vehicles, bringing Vermont’s total number of electric public transit vehicles to 12. Green Mountain Express in Bennington and Rural Community Transportation in Lyndonville will each receive two vehicles. AOT will use the funds to purchase four "cutaway" vehicles, which are smaller than standard city buses and similar to large vans.

While the non-federal match funding for the grant award will not be required until FY22, AOT will assess state budget impacts due to COVID-19 and will work closely with the two transit providers to assure that the shared match commitment of $153,591 will be available prior to the final grant acceptance.

“We can achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions by replacing older diesel buses with electric models, and this latest investment will further contribute to these reductions,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “We’re grateful for our local partners’ collaboration in bringing this technology to their communities.”

Vermont's public transit electrification plans are developed in consultation with key partners to ensure a seamless transition of the transit service fleet. In each FTA grant application, AOT has worked with the regional utility company and transit provider to ensure that new vehicles and charging infrastructure are carefully considered and designed to meet the initial and future needs of an electric fleet.

AOT also works with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to create the vehicle and charging specifications and to develop the metrics that will be used to assess the performance and costs of these new vehicles.

Source: Montpelier, Vt. – AOT 6.11.2020