New Orleans RTA joins FTA’s Climate Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge

Today, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) Board of Commissioners adopted a Resolution supporting the agency’s participation in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Climate Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge. RTA joins more than 70 transit agencies across the country by signing a pledge to develop a climate action, electrification, or sustainability plan that details greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategies. Example of GHG strategies include converting fleets to electric buses and making facilities more energy efficient. RTA’s commitment to lowering emissions is part of the larger network redesign which looks to address more equitable connectivity for riders in the region.

“As one of the largest transit systems in Louisiana, RTA has a responsibility to understanding and addressing the issues surrounding the agency’s impacts on the climate and our community as a whole,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA Board Chair. “The RTA Board of Commissioners remains observant of this moment, thinking intensely about solutions for the future that lower emissions, reduce air pollution and ultimately, strengthen the long-term prospects of strengthening our disaster resilience.”

“RTA’s vision encompasses a sustainable transit system that enhances the community while providing safe and reliable transportation options,” said Alex Z. Wiggins, RTA CEO. “In joining our peers across the transit industry in signing FTA’s Climate Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge pledge, the agency is solidifying our commitment to our riders, our community, the transit industry, and the future health of our environment working to ensure a cleaner future for all.”

Participation in this challenge builds on the RTA’s award of $5.1M from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant program in June 2021. RTA intends to utilize the funding to install the battery charging infrastructure in its facilities and diagnostic and required maintenance equipment to fully integrate No-Emissions vehicles in the RTA fleet. The grant will also fund at least three new electric buses. The agency’s goal of having 75% of the fleet powered by low or no-emission vehicles by 2030, is in line with federal, state, and local initiatives to protect the environment and public health.

In April 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration announced goals of 1) achieving a 50-percent reduction in economy-wide net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, and 2) reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. Considering these goals and recognizing that public transportation can play a substantial role in reducing GHG emissions, on June 15, 2021, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) launched the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge. The challenge encourages transit agencies to develop climate action strategies with measurable goals to curb GHG emissions, supporting the Administration’s goal.