by Guy Page
Governor Phil Scott announced last week the Vermont Agency of Transportation has received $1,026,659 through the Federal Transit Administration’s “Low and No Emissions” grant program.
The award will allow for the purchase of four new electric buses, associated charging equipment, and the necessary facility improvements to introduce e-buses in the Tri-Valley Transit (TVT) region, which serves the counties of Addison, Orange, and Northern Windsor.
“I’m very proud of the record amount of funding my Administration has proposed to combat climate change, and electrifying our transportation sector is a key component of our strategy,” said Governor Scott. “The transportation sector is the largest contributor to Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions, so prioritizing a transition to green transportation is essential. This grant will help us continue that work.”
“The Low and No Emissions grant program has been critical to AOT’s electrification plans,” said AOT Public Transit Manager, Ross MacDonald. “Over the last several years, these grant awards have enabled us to invest in electric public vehicles and infrastructure, while gaining a better understanding of the financial and operational requirements needed to develop a fully electric fleet.”
The operational record of the two e-buses in service now has been spotty due to electrical problems, MacDonald said in an email exchange with Vermont Daily today.
“There are two e-buses on the road at this time,” MacDonald said. “These large Proterra vehicles are operating in Burlington, and yes, there have been some maintenance issues (not with the drive train, per se, but with the electric doors and charging equipment).
“There are seven e-buses on order, and another nine to be ordered in the near future,” MacDonald explained. “The e-bus manufacturers have been slow to introduce the “Cutaway” models that you usually see around Vermont. Those 12-18 passenger buses make up over 60% of our inventory and we have had to issue multiple RFPs. The delivery timelines are also several months long, so it has been a bit of a challenge in obtaining the buses associated with this grant program.”
This latest award marks the fifth year in a row that AOT has received funds through the program. Currently, six of Vermont’s seven transit organizations either operate e-buses or have them on order. With 12 e-buses and related infrastructure already awarded, and another two e-buses planned with VW Mitigation Trust funds, this latest federal grant award will bring Vermont’s public transit fleet to a total of 18 e-buses.
(Editor’s note: much of this news story is sourced from a press release sent by Gov. Scott’s office last week.)