Stark Area Regional Transit Authority is Building the Third Largest Zero-Emission Fleet in U.S. and Will Test New Buses at the Ohio State University for the Next 12 Months . As Lead Democrat on Senate Banking Committee, Brown Has Championed Federal Investment in Zero-Emission Buses.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the first zero-emission fuel cell bus ride taking place in Columbus today. The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) is partnering with the Ohio State University (OSU) to test the first of its hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses on OSU’s campus for the next 12 months. A representative of Brown’s office attended the first ride which took place at the Ohio Statehouse today.
“Today’s launch will advance Ohio’s position as a leader in fuel cell technology and sustainable transit,” Brown said. “These buses will help central Ohioans get to work or school, while helping to reduce emissions, and this is another example of OSU’s national leadership in transportation innovation. I look forward to working with SARTA, OSU, and organizations around our state to ensure that the newest, most efficient technology is accessible for all Ohioans.”
“We’ve been able to simultaneously embrace innovation, enhance services for veterans, students and the disabled, and add new routes--all while holding the line on fares and local taxes,” said Kirt Conrad, SARTA’s CEO. “That’s why so many people believe SARTA is one of our community’s most valuable assets.”
Last week, Brown announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded more than $4 million for SARTA to purchase three additional zero-emission fuel cell buses. This purchase will give SARTA – which had previously ordered seven fuel cell buses with FTA’s assistance – the largest fuel cell fleet in the country, outside of California.
This investment builds on the $8,877,405 awarded to SARTA in February 2015 to purchase five zero-emission fuel cell buses through the Low or No Emission Deployment Program and earlier federal funding for the initial two vehicles. Using hydrogen fuel cell buses as their power source, rather than diesel, makes these buses more energy efficient, reducing dependency on foreign oil, and cutting down on emissions. In March 2014, Brown wrote a letter to then FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, urging him to give SARTA’s proposal full and fair consideration.
Brown – who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the Federal Transit Administration – has championed federal investment in zero-emission buses. During Senate consideration of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act last year, Brown worked to double federal investment in zero-emission projects in public transit.