The Biden administration announced Monday a nearly $1.7 billion investment for buying "low and no emission buses and transit projects across 46 states and territories."
The investment is the second bus grant package funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law, which has now invested more than $3.3 billion in American transit buses and the infrastructure that supports them, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters. After more than two years of funding, the total number of zero emission transit buses funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law is now more than 1,800, which Landrieu says is more than doubling the number of zero emission transit buses on America's roadways.
"Importantly, this funding also invested more than 1,700 American-built buses that would be manufactured in America factories with American workers. That means that as we are building these clean buses with cars that are made in America, we're creating good paying jobs along the way," he said. "The grants even put money into training and workforce that will operate and maintain these buses. There are millions of dollars set aside for workforce programs, the people servicing diesel buses need the skills to work on clean buses. We can't leave them behind as we make this transition, and we can't run our transit systems or keep the buses running on time and safely without the workers."
"Even if you don't take the bus, these investments will benefit you because your family can breathe cleaner air," Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said on a call with reporters.
"You can find a quieter neighborhood or commute when you no longer have old buses chugging down the roads," he continued. "And when you have a robust transit system like we're supporting those who drive will face less traffic because more people will be choosing to take the new reliable, clean buses, leaving less congestion on the road and of course, so many Americans, whether they are transit users or not, will get a good job. Manufacturing these made in America buses operating or maintaining that bus fleet for the future. So it's a win, win, win. It's a great example of President Biden's vision and what his Invest in America agenda looks like in practice."
Monday's announcement covers the second round of grants for buses and supporting infrastructure. All told, the U.S. has invested a total of $3.3 billion in the projects so far. Government officials expect to award roughly $5 billion more over the next three years.
The Biden administration said that the new buses will improve public health as diesel exhaust will no longer be going into the air and that the new buses will be easier to maintain.
The government received 475 project proposals for the grants that totaled roughly $8.7 billion, a sign of the demand for the funding.
The Seattle area will be getting $33.5 million to purchase 30 electric battery buses and chargers. The Washington, D.C., transit authority will use $104 million to make a bus garage an electric facility and buy roughly 100 electric battery buses. However, money also is going outside of major U.S. cities, with Iowa City, Iowa, and the Seneca Nation in Western New York also receiving grants.
"Every bus we convert to zero emission is one less vehicle sending harmful emissions into the air. They are also going to make our air cleaner to breathe, giving our kids a better future," Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Veronica Vanterpool said. "We are also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in how buses are maintained and stored, which is critical to deploying modern clean energy fleets, modernizing bus garages with charging equipment and increasing capacity, which can be an expensive proposition for communities. Sets the stage for the bus fleets of the future. As I wrap up, I want to talk about where this really matters on the streets in our neighborhoods."
"Every day, millions of Americans climb aboard over 60,000 buses to get to work, to school, doctor’s appointments, everywhere they need to be," Buttigieg added on the call. "These are unprecedented levels of investment when it comes to putting modern cleaner buses on the road."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.