The city of Gainesville received a $1.2 million Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) grant to acquire four new battery-electric buses.
According to a city of Gainesville press release, the Gainesville City Commission will vote on Thursday to accept the grant, which will enable the city’s Regional Transit System (RTS) to retire four diesel buses. The Federal Transit Administration will supply the additional $2.8 million in funding to complete the purchase.
RTS currently has four battery-electric buses that were added to its fleet over the past two years. Each zero-emission bus can travel 150 to 200 miles per charge, connect to existing ChargePoint stations at the RTS headquarters, and seat up to 38 passengers.
“By replacing aging diesel buses in the fleet with battery-powered models, we can continue to provide reliable transportation services to our community in a more fuel-efficient manner,” said Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward in the press release.
FDEP approached Gainesville transportation leaders to participate in the state’s Electric Transit Bus Grant Program following RTS’s initial environmental-friendly additions in 2021. The FDEP program is supported through Florida’s VW Settlement Agreement funds acquired from penalties and fines levied against Volkswagen over claims its vehicles violated the U.S. Clean Air Act.
The grant award for the new electric buses will be spread out over the next four years. The city continues to replace its diesel bus fleet to meet the FDEP program goal of mitigating emissions from mobile sources. The retired diesel buses will go through a specified scrapping process instead of returning to the road.
The electric buses, built by GILLIG of Livermore, California, are expected to arrive in late 2024.