FTA Offers $1.5B to Support Transit Vehicle Manufacturing

The Federal Transit Administration recently issued a $1.5 billion notice of funding opportunity to support American transit vehicle manufacturing enterprises, help build bus facilities, and promote workforce development. That funding includes support for the manufacturing of zero-emission buses, the agency added.

[Above photo by Chicago Transit Authority]

Roughly $1.1 billion of that funding will come through the FTA’s Low- or No-Emission Program, which helps transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-built zero-emission and low-emission transit buses along with charging equipment and supporting facilities, with $390 million available via the agency’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program that supports transit agencies in buying and rehabilitating buses and vans and building bus facilities.

Concurrently, as part of FTA’s commitment to build a diverse and skilled public transportation workforce and help train workers on new bus technologies, 5 percent of each grant for zero emission projects is set aside for workforce development and training.

The FTA added that it is also focused on strengthening U.S. bus manufacturing, which can stabilize the cost of new buses and accelerate delivery of new vehicles. More standardized bus models will shorten manufacturing timelines, the agency said, so transit agencies competing for funds are encouraged to consider strategies to avoid customization.

By prioritizing this in applications, FTA stressed that it is encouraging improvements in bus vehicle delivery that will result in more American-built buses getting on the road faster.

“Buying new buses, including many vehicles that use new technology to cut carbon pollution, will promote cleaner, faster, and safer rides as we move toward a better future,” noted outgoing FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement. “FTA is also providing solutions to reduce bus costs, shorten production timelines, and maintain domestic manufacturing capacity as transit agencies procure buses.”

The agency noted that this is the third round of bus-focused grant funding authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, which allocated more than $3.3 billion in American transit buses and the infrastructure that supports them. Over the next three years, the IIJA will provide almost $5 billion more for bus programs, FTA said.

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