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Sacramento Regional Transit Receives $76.8M for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses and Modernization

By July 10, 2024 7   min read  (1292 words)

July 10, 2024 |

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The Sacramento Regional Transportation District will receive $76.8 million to buy up to 29 new hydrogen fuel cell buses to replace older buses, modernize a maintenance facility, and initiate a workforce development program. The project will improve service, reliability, and air quality throughout the greater Sacramento area.

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) today announced the receipt of significant grant funding to propel its mission toward a sustainable and innovative future. The Federal Transit Administration announced that SacRT is receiving $76,847,678 in Capital funds from the Low or No Emission Grant program to purchase new hydrogen fuel cell buses to replace older buses, modernize a bus maintenance facility and initiate a workforce development program. This is the third highest award in this major grant category across the nation.

Federal support for bus projects over the last several years has been instrumental in moving people and helping communities advance their climate goals.

Today’s announcement is part of approximately $1.5 billion in funding to support 117 projects that will improve public transportation in 47 states. Over the last three years, the Federal Transit Administration has sent nearly $5 billion in the past three years to replace and modernize transit buses on America’s roadways, building new technology with American workers. U.S. factories will produce more than 3,650 new buses.

This funding continues the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic federal investment in the nation’s bus systems as well as the transit workforce Approximately 80 percent of the buses being funded will run on zero and low-emission technology, reducing air pollution and helping meet the President’s goal of zero emissions by 2050.

In addition, SacRT received $10 million from SB125 provided by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and $7.5 million from HVIP by California Air Resources Board (CARB), which are utilized as local match, bringing SacRT’s available funds to $94.3 million. With an additional $2.9 million from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and $4 million from the EnergIIZE Fund from the California Energy Commission that we anticipate securing, our total funding amount will be approximately $102 million.

The project, supported by this grant, underscores SacRT’s commitment to creating jobs, enhancing service reliability, and improving air quality as part of its ambitious goal to convert the entire bus fleet to zero emissions (ZEB) by 2040. With this grant funding, SacRT plans to construct the first hydrogen facility in the capital region and convert the bus fleet service in northern Sacramento’s disadvantaged communities to ZEBs by 2028.

Key components of the grant project include:

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses: Acquisition of 29 state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell buses to replace older models, offering a cleaner, more efficient transportation option for Sacramento area residents.
  • Maintenance Facility Modernization: Upgrades to SacRT’s bus maintenance facility at the McClellan Business Park, ensuring it is equipped to support the new hydrogen fuel cell buses and other future zero-emission vehicles.
  • Workforce Development Program: Launch of a robust workforce development program aimed at equipping current and future employees with the skills needed to maintain and operate the new zero-emission fleet.

“Today, 117 communities, including SacRT, are receiving the good news that their transit buses are being modernized and their commutes improved through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Biden-Harris Administration is helping agencies across 47 states replace old buses running on dirty, expensive fuels by delivering modern and zero-emission buses, manufactured by American workers, that will connect more people to where they need to go.”

“For too long, Sacramento communities along busy transit corridors have borne the brunt of harmful climate and air quality impacts. This investment is a critical down payment on a modern transit system in the Greater Sacramento Region that puts SacRT on the road to a zero-emission bus fleet,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “With help from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, SacRT is building a cleaner, more dependable transportation system while creating good-paying jobs and investing in our local workforce.”

“Here in the Sacramento region, our innovators like SacRT continue to lead the way to combat the climate crisis. The Zero-Emission Buses, Fueling, and Workforce Development Project is a prime example of this work to deliver for our community,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-07). “I am proud to have helped secure this infusion of $76.8 million in federal funds to accelerate this crucial project. We are putting federal dollars to work modernizing our transportation network, improving our air quality, and putting us on a path to a cleaner future.”

“I am pleased to have worked with SacRT to secure this grant funding for Sacramento County,” said Congressman Ami Bera (CA-06). “This funding will not only help transition Sacramento’s public transportation system to cleaner, more efficient technology, but it will also create good-paying jobs, improve service reliability, and contribute to improved air quality for our community. This project is a significant step forward in our region’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, and I look forward to seeing its positive impact as SacRT works towards an entirely zero-emission fleet within the decade.”

“News that the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) received nearly $77 million in grants for the Zero-Emission Buses, Fueling, and Workforce Development Project is a real win for our community. I strongly advocated for this funding because it will enable SacRT to convert its McClellan Bus Maintenance Facility and buses to hydrogen-based operations that will improve air quality across the region, benefiting residents as well as the environment,” said Congressman Kevin Kiley (CA-03). “The project will also include maintenance facility upgrades, maintenance training, and workforce development opportunities to support the conversion to a zero-emission fleet that will lead to improved service quality and reliability.”

“This is very exciting news for Sacramento Regional Transit and the whole Sacramento community we serve,” said SacRT Board Chair and Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. “It means we will be able to start transitioning our current fleet of buses to hydrogen fuel-cell buses that emit no carbon and are much quieter. I want to thank Senators Padilla and Butler, and Representatives Matsui, Bera and Kiley who all supported this effort. This is the start of a new hydrogen economy in Sacramento and SacRT is proud to be leading the way.”

“This funding is a pivotal step in our journey towards a greener, more sustainable future,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “By integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology into our bus fleet, we are not only improving the reliability and efficiency of our services but also contributing significantly to the improvement of air quality in our region.”

 

The project aligns with SacRT’s broader strategy to enhance public transportation infrastructure, create new job opportunities, and ensure a cleaner environment for the Sacramento community. As SacRT works towards the 2040 zero-emission goal, this grant represents a major milestone in providing safe, reliable, and environmentally friendly public transportation options.

The projects announced today are supported by FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low-and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs.

The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities program provides federal funding for transit agencies to buy and rehabilitate buses and vans and build and modernize bus facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly $2 billion through 2026 for the program. For Fiscal Year 2024, approximately $390 million for grants was available under this program.

FTA’s Low-and No-Emission program makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-built low- or no-emission vehicles, including buses and vans, make facility and station upgrades to accommodate low- or no-emission vehicles, and buy supporting equipment like battery electric charging. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.6 billion through 2026 for the Low-No Program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding. For Fiscal Year 2024, approximately $1.1 billion was available for grants under this program.

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