WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Anthony G. Brown (all D-Md.) announced $4,162,472 for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for the expansion of its zero-emission bus fleet.
Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) FY 2020 Low- or No-Emission Vehicle Program (Low-No). These funds, which are the first WMATA has received through this competitive program, will support the purchase of two electric buses and related infrastructure and facility improvements. These buses will run from the Shepherd Parkway bus garage, serving Southern Prince George’s County as well as the District of Columbia and northern Virginia.
“A strong and reliable Metrobus system is a critical Maryland priority. These federal funds will support WMATA’s efforts to improve its environmental performance, benefitting public health and reducing pollution in the National Capital Region,” said Senator Cardin.
“Metrobus provides an essential service to Maryland’s commuters, and during this time of emergency, it has remained crucial to our frontline workers. Modernizing the Metrobus fleet will improve service and cut pollution, benefiting the region’s environmental and public health – all the more important when facing a pandemic,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We will continue fighting to secure federal investments in clean transit infrastructure.”
“Metrobus connects our communities and provides critical transportation for essential workers across our region. As we respond to the coronavirus pandemic, we must also plan for our future transportation needs,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “Clean, zero-emission busses will reduce pollution and continue our progress building greener infrastructure in Maryland.”
“We are pleased to receive this funding and look forward to testing zero-emission electric buses in our fleet,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Zero-emission buses will make the region’s air cleaner, improve the customer experience, and help control operating costs. We thank our congressional delegation and all of our regional partners for their efforts and cooperation as we explore the exciting possibilities of this technology and work to overcome the challenges of widespread implementation.”
This grant advances the broader goal for a regional transition to zero emissions bus technology and follows the Washington Area Bus Transformation Project (BTP) and Metro’s Energy Action Plan and Zero-Emission Bus Update.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 authorized $55 million per year through FY 2020 for the Low-No Program to support the transition of the nation’s transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program makes competitive awards to State and local government authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities. More information about this program may be found through DOT here.