VIA Metropolitan Transit awarded $3 million for low-emission fleet

Posted: 11 July 2023 | | No comments yet

Provided through FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program, the $3 million grant will allow VIA to replace 15 gasoline-powered paratransit vehicles with low-emission propane vans, prioritising accessibility and environmental sustainability.

VIA Metropolitan Transit awarded $3 million for low-emission fleet

Credit: VIA Metropolitan Transit

VIA Metropolitan Transit has announced that it has secured over $3 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through its Low or No Emission Vehicle Program. The grant will support VIA’s initiative to replace 15 gasoline-powered paratransit vehicles with low-emission propane-powered vans.

The funding, totalling $3,197,000, has been made possible by the efforts of U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35), who played instrumental roles in VIA’s application for the fiscal year 2023 programme. This amount will cover a significant portion of the overall $3,984,000 vehicle-replacement project.

VIAtrans, VIA‘s shared-ride, curb-to-curb service for individuals with disabilities who cannot use regular bus services, will benefit from this funding. The replacement of the 15 vehicles is necessary as they are 2017 models with an average mileage exceeding 165,000, surpassing FTA’s useful-life requirements.

Congressman Joaquin Castro said: “This new funding from the FTA will help expand VIA’s fleet of low-emission paratransit vehicles, protecting our clean air and improving the rider experience for VIAtrans customers.” 

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The FTA funding not only ensures the continuation of vital transportation services for riders with disabilities but also aligns with VIA’s commitment to sustainable mobility. As a member of the FTA’s Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge, the agency has actively pursued measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning from gasoline to cleaner-burning fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG), electric and propane.

“San Antonio’s public transit system will soon include new and better vans for riders with disabilities,” said Congressman Greg Casar. “We’re bringing these federal dollars back home to Texas, so we can better serve the thousands of San Antonians who rely on public transportation every day.”

VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said: “We are thankful for strong support from Congressmen Castro and Casar for their advocacy in helping us land this grant from the FTA that will let us continue that conversion across our paratransit fleet as well. This funding will help us enhance accessibility services that connect our VIAtrans riders to our community and improve quality of life.”

To meet the growing demand for transportation services, VIA has been implementing a fleet replacement programme. It has already purchased 124 propane paratransit vans and plans to continue replacing vehicles that have surpassed their useful lives. The 15 propane paratransit vans funded by the FTA grant are included in VIA‘s FY 2023-2027 Capital Plan, approved by the VIA Board of Trustees.