The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has announced the award of $1.7 billion in grants to cities, states and municipalities to upgrade their bus fleets to low-emission or no-emission vehicles. 

The grants, which U.S. DOT announced on June 26, are part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will cover the purchase of more than 1,700 buses, half of which will be zero-emission vehicles.

The grants also include considerable construction and upgrade work at bus depots and other support facilities, including $104 million to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to convert its Lorton, Va., bus garage to fully electric and purchase 100 electric buses. 

“We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in how buses are maintained and stored,” said Veronica Vanterpool, deputy administrator with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in a call with reporters. “Modernizing [these] bus garages with [electric] charging equipment sets the stage for the bus fleets of the future.”

The push to reduce carbon emissions is a longtime goal of the Biden administration. Shifting away from fossil-fuel-powered buses isn’t the only goal of the grant program, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He said that the program "benefits you even if you don’t take the bus.”

Buttigieg told reporters, “When you have a robust transit system like we are supporting, those who drive will face less traffic on the roads.”

The grants cover 130 projects in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They range in size from a few hundred thousand dollars for vehicle storage upgrades and vehicle purchases to much larger outlays, such as a $103-million grant for Dallas Area Rapid Transit to modernize its bus fleet around compressed natural gas vehicles. The grants also include specific programs to improve rural transit access and awards to tribal governments for bus purchases and upgrades.

A full list of the grants covered in the program can be viewed online here.

This is the second part of the roughly $2 billion allocated in the IIJA for the FTA’s Grant for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle program. Approximately $473 million was made available for grants in fiscal year 2023 under the program.