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N.J. Transit Gets $99M Federal Award for Cleaner Buses

The agency received a $99.49 million grant to upgrade its Meadowlands Bus Garage. It will enable the 30-year-old facility to house, charge, and maintain electric buses, and increase service.

A green-colored, battery-powered electric NJ Transit bus awaits further testing.
One of NJ Transit's eight new battery-powered electric buses, testing in Camden. The agency received nearly $100 million in a federal grant to retrofit a key North Jersey bus garage to charge and maintain electric buses.
Larry Higgs/TNS
(TNS) — NJ Transit’s efforts to replace diesel buses with cleaner electric versions got an almost $100 million boost from the Federal Transit Administration, which awarded the agency a $99.49 million grant to upgrade its Meadowlands Bus Garage.

The grant is part of $1.5 billion in funding to support 117 projects to improve public transportation in 47 states announced by the administration on Tuesday. NJ Transit’s grant also is one of the larger grants awarded.

The project will improve the 30-year-old bus garage to house, charge, and maintain its electric buses while increasing service in historically disadvantaged communities.

“Maybe no state relies on its buses and public transit more than ours, the most densely populated state,” U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr, D-9th Dist. said in a statement. “With increased service and reduced air pollution, the grant is a big win for bus riders across northern New Jersey.”

The grant will allow the Meadowlands Bus Garage will help construct outdoor solar panels and battery electric bus chargers “essential to our carbon-free future,” Pascrell said.

The retrofitting will also allow NJ Transit’s larger articulated buses to use the facility, according to the agency’s sustainability plan.

It also partially answers one of environmentalist’s criticisms of that plan, released in final form in late April, that it lacks specifies information on how to fund its goals. Rehabilitation of the Meadowlands Bus Garage is one of those goals.

The Meadowlands Bus Garage is the base for 32 bus routes operating in Hudson County that cover 6.4 million miles annually and also serves several diverse communities, according to the Federal Transit Administration. As part of the project, NJ Transit will start workforce training to help bus operators and maintenance staff perfect how to drive and maintain buses powered on new technology.

Replacing diesel buses with battery-electric buses is one of the strategies to meet Gov. Phil Murphy’s climate change goal of an 80% reduction in state-generated greenhouse gases by 2050.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D- NJ, who, along with Pascrell, lobbied for the grant, called it a way to “help us meet our climate goals, clean up our air, and improve public health for our communities.”

Ongoing NJ Transit electrification initiatives, include battery electric bus testing underway in Camden since October 2022. Infrastructure work includes building a state-of-the-art bus garage in Union City thanks to a $44 million federal grant.

A history making $6.8 billion Federal Transit Administration grant was awarded Monday toward the construction of the $16 billion Gateway Rail Tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York.

©2024 Advance Local Media LLC, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.