The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has received a $4.4 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to replace diesel buses with 10 new, electric buses that will have lower fuel costs and be more reliable with fewer breakdowns. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced on September 25 that the Federal Transit Administration would award the $4.4 million of the total nationwide $366.2 million in grants to improve the safety and reliability of America’s bus systems and enhance mobility for transit riders.
In September 2017, MCDOT received an FTA grant for $1.75 million to purchase four electric buses and charging stations. The MCDOT Ride On bus system will use the money to purchase four, 35-foot, all-electric buses, which can operate all day on a single charge, and charging stations. Last year, Ride On partnered with Proterra, the bus manufacturer, and the Center for Transportation and the Environment, a nonprofit that develops technologies and implements solutions to achieve energy and environmental sustainability. The Montgomery County Department of General Services, which purchases and maintains the Ride On buses, greatly assisted with the grant application.
“Thank you to the FTA for this grant to purchase more zero-emission, electric buses that will bring Montgomery County closer to our climate-protection goals and help reduce our impact on the environment,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “I am especially grateful for the support of our Congressional delegation, Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Jamie Raskin, John Delaney and John Sarbanes, who have worked diligently to approve critical federal transit program funding and effectively advocated for Montgomery County.”
"Bus transportation is the most widely available form of public transportation across the country," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. "These grants are a significant step in achieving the Administration’s goal of rebuilding our nation’s transportation infrastructure."
Expanding use of electric buses is an important component in the County’s strategy to use innovative technology in reducing fuel consumption by 20 percent by 2020, cutting emission of harmful pollutants, and greenhouse gases and reducing the environmental impact of its fleet.
The FTA funding supports projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment, as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, and construct bus-related facilities. A total of 107 projects in 50 states and territories received funding from FTA’s Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program.
The electricity used to run some of the new buses will be generated from clean energy sources. Montgomery County Government purchases 100 percent of its annual electricity consumption from energy generated by wind turbines. The County, and its partner agencies, collectively are the fourth largest municipal purchaser of clean energy. Montgomery County has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of the 2005 baseline by 2050 and is currently ahead of schedule.