StarTran has received a $1.45 million grant to purchase two electric buses that will replace heavy-duty diesel buses. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Program.
StarTran's project was one of 51 projects in 39 states selected for $55 million in grants. Lincoln's new electric buses will be used on routes that connect residents to employment opportunities. The grant will also fund electric charging stations, a transformer and staff training. The grant will be matched by $500,000 in local funds.
"This project will further enhance StarTran's reputation as a transit industry leader in the use and promotion of alternative fuels," said Transit Manager Mike Davis. "As we replace older vehicles, our focus continues to be on diversifying our fuel resources and cutting emissions." Davis said the electric buses will save on fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions by 1,690 tons over their 12-year life span. He said the reduced emissions are equivalent to removing 27 cars from the road. The electric buses are expected to be delivered in late 2018 and in service in early 2019.
StarTran's current fleet includes 67 full-size buses and 13 HandiVans. Nearly one-third of the vehicles will use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by spring 2018. That includes 13 buses, 2 trolleys and 11 HandiVans. CNG offers increased environmental benefits, operates more quietly than diesel, and on average costs less per gallon than diesel.
FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams said the projects were selected through the highly competitive Low-No program. "As transit providers nationwide face a backlog of maintenance needs, it is imperative to replace aging buses near the end of their useful life with newer cleaner models that are also more efficient to operate and maintain," she said.
Davis thanked the project partners, New Flyer and Lincoln Electric System, as well as those who helped with the grant application: U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, the StarTran Advisory Board, Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization, Center for People in Need, Malone Community Center, Indian Center Inc. and Lutheran Family Services.
For more information on StarTran, visit startran.lincoln.ne.gov.