Since taking office, President Obama and this Administration have been committed to investing in smart, sustainable transportation that helps more Americans get to work, school, and other destinations while also helping communities save money.
That’s why today, DOT is pleased to announce that 27 projects across the country will receive a combined $59.3 million to help transit agencies purchase and support cleaner, greener buses that reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy. And because these cleaner-fueled buses will replace aging transit vehicles, they will also deliver a more comfortable, reliable ride for passengers.
These grants, provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Clean Fuels Program, will help achieve President Obama’s goal for an independent and secure energy future.
Transit agencies and the communities they serve recognize the benefits of switching to a cleaner fueled fleet, and demand for this program continues to be very strong. This year, we received requests equaling more than half a billion dollars – almost 10 times the amount of money available.
They will also be able to build new fueling stations to accommodate these alternative-fuel vehicles, as well as purchase new clean-fuel hybrid batteries for buses.
One city that will benefit greatly from this program is St. Cloud, Minnesota, where I joined U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Dave Kleis, and local officials to announce that the city will receive $3.3 million to help the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission renovate its Metro Bus Operations Center. Upgrades will allow the facility to accommodate a fleet of transit vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas. The MTC will also build a compressed natural gas refueling station.
In these tough economic times, transit continues to be an increasingly popular form of transportation – ridership across the U.S. has increased in 16 of the last 19 months, and in July 2012, ridership was up by 2.5 percent over July 2011.
Thanks to the FTA's Clean Fuels Program, the growing number of transit riders will experience safer, more comfortable, and more reliable rides, and residents will benefit from reduced emissions in their neighborhoods.
Today in Nashville, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff joined Mayor Karl Dean to celebrate a $3 million award to purchase four electric buses. As Administrator Rogoff said, “As more and more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere, it’s good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won’t pollute their neighborhoods while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence.”
Our Clean Fuels Program fits right in with the historic progress the Obama Administration is making on clean energy. We’re setting new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks and investing in cutting-edge technologies, like fuel cells, that will deliver clean, renewable power to generations of transit vehicles for years to come.
And with these new clean fuel grants, DOT is proud to deliver the support that communities throughout the country need to offer safe, comfortable, and reliable transit options, while ensuring that the nation’s transit services are good for the environment for years to come.