State receives $2.6M federal grant for zero-emission buses

On Tuesday, Aug. 6, in front of a clean, quiet, zero-emission electric DART bus, Delaware Gov. John Carney, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan and Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) CEO John Sisson announced that Delaware has received a $2.6 million grant award from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase zero-emission transit buses.

This is the third competitive grant from the Low or No Emission Bus & Bus Facilities grant program that Delaware has received for electric transit buses and associated charging systems. In total, DTC has received $5.6 million and plans to have 20 electric buses state-wide by the beginning of 2021. The state is already operating six electric buses in Kent County.

Electric buses are four to five times more efficient and have faster acceleration than comparable diesel buses, officials noted. They get 150-200 miles per charge and have lower maintenance costs than diesel buses, they added.

“Climate change is real for Delawareans and Delaware families,” said Carney. “Delaware is the lowest-lying state in the country, and 17,000 homes here are at risk of permanent inundation. Rising temperatures and stronger storms threaten our $8 billion agricultural industry and our natural resources. It’s critically important that we work together to take this threat seriously and confront climate change.

“That’s why we joined states across the country to create the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to upholding the goals of the Paris climate agreement. And that’s why we’re working with members of our federal delegation to invest in these new electric buses — as part of our broader efforts to make the shift to renewable sources of energy.”

“We know that promoting zero-emission vehicles, such as electric vehicles, is one of the best ways we can modernize and clean up our transportation sector, which is now our country’s single largest source of global warming pollution,” said Carper.

“More electric vehicles on our roads means cleaner air and a better climate. And these buses aren’t just cleaner and more climate-friendly — they also run quieter, accelerate faster and they’re four to five times more efficient than their diesel-run counterparts. … With this funding, the First State will soon have 20 electric buses on its roads, helping Delawareans reach their destinations in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way.”

“Modernizing our fleet of buses with additional zero-emission vehicles reinforces our commitment to clean, efficient, and sustainable transportation solutions,” said Coons. “These zero-emission buses reduce pollution in Delaware and serve as an example of states taking local leadership on climate change action.”

“As Delaware continues to combat climate change, we know that lowering transportation emissions is a critical piece of the puzzle. The Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Bus program allows us to do just that,” said Blunt Rochester.

“I am proud that the federal government is providing vital resources to states to make these investments and I am glad the Delaware Transit Corporation is taking advantage of these programs. I’m excited to join my colleagues for this fantastic announcement and can’t wait to see these electric buses on the road.”

Cohan added, “We continue to work to improve the overall customer experience and to make our public transportation more accessible. In addition to the reduced impact on the environment and lower operating costs, these buses offer an extremely quiet ride, as well as a faster loading and unloading process for our customers with disabilities.”

“Public transit has always been an economical and environmentally-friendly way to get people to work, medical appointments, shop, eat and play,” said Sisson. “Zero-emission electric buses take us a step further in providing a greener, more cost-effective way to deliver our services.”