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Grant to Fund Electric Buses, Chargers in Bloomington, Ind.

Bloomington Transit was among two public transportation systems in the state that received a $3.2 million Federal Transit Administration grant to purchase electric buses and charging stations.

by Ernest Rollins, Herald-Times / August 18, 2020
Shutterstock/Ruslan Sitarchuk

(TNS) — Bloomington Transit will add battery-powered buses to its fleet thanks to a recent federal grant.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded the local public transit system $3.2 million to purchase electric buses and charging stations.

"We're thrilled to get the news about the grant award," said Lew May, Bloomington Transit general manager. "We especially appreciate the support from Mayor (John) Hamilton and Congressman (Trey) Hollingsworth, who both supported our application for these funds."

May said the grant would allow public transit officials to purchase a total of four battery electric buses along with charging stations. He added installation of the stations is included as part of the project.

Bloomington Transit will pay a local match of $800,000 as part of the project. May said the transit authority anticipates taking ownership of the new buses in late 2021 or early 2022.

May said there are currently 41 fixed route and 14 Bloomington Transit Access vehicles as part of its fleet. Of those, eight are hybrid electric vehicles.

"Battery electric buses have several distinct benefits including: lower and less volatile fuel costs in the form of electricity; lower lifetime maintenance costs; and lower overall costs over the life of the vehicle compared to diesel," May said.

He added when it comes to fuel economy, a battery electric bus is five times better when compared to diesel buses. May said the electric buses also produce virtually no noise when idling.

Bloomington Transit was among two public transportation systems in the state that received funding. According to a news release, the Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corp. in Indiana will receive $1.2 million to expand and upgrade its compressed natural gas fueling station. The funds will help increase the number of compressed natural gas vehicles in its fleet.

Nationwide, the Federal Transit Administration awarded $464 million in federal grants to support projects to "replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment, as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate and construct bus-related facilities," the release states.

"Millions of Americans rely on public transportation to access health care, jobs, and other vital services," FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams said in the release. "During this unprecedented time, we need to ensure access and mobility for the riders who depend on our nation's bus systems."

©2020 the Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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