BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 19 – Vermont’s congressional delegation announced Tuesday that the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will receive a $480,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to purchase two electric buses that will be used by Green Mountain Transit in Burlington. In June, the Vermont delegation wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of the grant.
The two new federally funded electric buses will help Vermont reduce local air pollution and the carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change. The transportation sector is the source of 28 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions nationally, and nearly 47 percent of carbon emissions in Vermont.
In a joint statement, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said, “Public transit is already an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions, by giving people the option to get out of their cars and into buses. By using electric buses instead of fossil fuel burning buses, we reduce those emissions even further. Since these electric buses will be charged by Burlington Electric Department, which gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, they are just about the cleanest way imaginable to transport area residents.”
“At a time when global climate change is causing devastation all around the world, from more frequent and stronger hurricanes, wildfires, drought and flooding, this is exactly the kind of investment we should be making,” the congressional delegation said.
Gov. Phil Scott said, “We have made tremendous progress in reducing our carbon emissions over the last decade in Vermont, though there is more work to do. This investment in electric buses will assist in that effort, and will not only help protect our environment for future generations, but also support our transportation infrastructure in creating cleaner options for Vermont commuters and reducing operation costs.”
Last year, Burlington Electric and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) met with GMT to suggest replacing aging diesel buses with electric buses. In April, GMT launched a successful electric bus pilot program.
“For Burlington to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming a net zero energy city, we must tackle the transportation sector’s significant and growing greenhouse gas emissions,” Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said. “Thanks to the leadership of our federal delegation, we now have the funds to help GMT bring at least two E-buses to Burlington and, with added incentives from Burlington Electric and other sources, as many as three or four E-buses.”
"Green Mountain Transit is proud to partner with the Vermont congressional delegation, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation to bring electric buses to our state," said GMT General Manager Mark Sousa. "We look forward to expanding our fleet to include this next generation of transit vehicles that move people quietly, cleanly, and efficiently while helping to meet state climate goals."
“The result of this collaboration means that some of the community’s most vulnerable people will have cleaner air to breathe, that Green Mountain Transit will enjoy lower operating and maintenance costs associated with all electric vehicles, and that the planet benefits from the reduction of carbon emissions,” said Jim Madej, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation’s CEO.
VTrans, the Vermont Public Transit Association, and local energy utilities have proposed transitioning Vermont’s public transportation sector away from using high-emissions petroleum-powered buses and toward no-emissions electric vehicles.
The federal funds were awarded from the Transportation Department’s Low or No-Emission Vehicle Competitive Program.
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