Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today said a $2.6 million federal transit grant will support the City's sustainability efforts by promoting the use of electric buses. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration as part of the Low- or No-Emission Vehicle Program (Low-No).
The City has been planning to replace six buses, and the grant will allow them to be replaced with electric buses rather than ones fueled by diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG). The grant will also fund three charging stations and additional training. The new buses will replace six diesel buses built in 2004. Each of those buses has logged an average of 450,000 miles. The electric buses are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2021 and in service the summer of 2021.
"This grant helps us literally put wheels in motion that advance our efforts to create a sustainable future for our City," said Mayor Gaylor Baird. "We appreciate our federal delegation's work, especially that of Senator Deb Fischer, to bring these funds home to Nebraska."
Bus manufacturer New Flyer says an electric bus saves 100 to 160 tons of greenhouse gases per year when compared to a 40-foot diesel bus. StarTran Transit Manager Mike Davis said the newer buses will improve overall reliability because of fewer fleet breakdowns.
StarTran's current fleet includes 65 full-size buses, two trolleys and 13 HandiVans. In 2017, StarTran received a $1.45 million grant from the Low-No program to purchase four electric buses to replace heavy-duty diesel buses, and they are expected to be in service later this year. The fleet also has 37 CNG vehicles, including the two trolleys.
Mayor Gaylor Baird also thanked U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, New Flyer, Lincoln Electric System, the StarTran Advisory Board and the Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization for their assistance in making the grant application successful.
For more information on StarTran, visit startran.lincoln.ne.gov.