King County Metro secures $33.5 million for zero-emission buses
In addition to purchasing 30 battery electric buses, the $33.5 million federal funding enables King County Metro to convert routes in low-income areas and expand its apprenticeship programmes.
Credit: King County Metro
King County Metro has announced that it has been awarded $33.5 million in federal funding by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to aid in the acquisition of zero-emission buses. This substantial investment aligns with the county’s objective of becoming one of the first major transit agencies in North America to achieve a fully zero-emission fleet by 2035.
FTA had recently announced 130 grants, totalling almost $1.7 billion, as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. King County Metro’s allocation ranks among the top 10 awards distributed to transit systems across 46 states and territories.
The funding will enable the transit agency to purchase 30 battery electric buses, with a particular focus on converting 27 bus routes that serve low-income communities. In addition, the agency plans to expand its apprenticeship programme, creating more opportunities for individuals in underserved areas to pursue transit careers.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said: “[This] announcement means more clean buses, less pollution, more jobs in manufacturing and maintenance, and better commutes for families across the country.”
County Executive Dow Constantine said: “This funding supports our work to advance equity and social justice by prioritising service areas for these new electric buses in neighbourhoods disproportionately impacted by pollution generated by fossil fuels and invests in our future workforce by eliminating barriers to opportunity in transit sector green jobs and apprenticeships programmes.”
Metro General Manager Michelle Allison said: “The buses and the maintenance training they will help fund are both an environmental and a social justice shift. Our focus is placing these buses and the work to maintain them in communities that have borne the brunt of climate change for too long.”
The grants awarded to King County Metro are supported by FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programmes. The former programme provides federal funding for bus acquisition, rehabilitation and facility modernisation. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates nearly $2 billion to this programme until FY 2026, with approximately $473 million available for grants in FY 2023.
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