Friday, June 25, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced the award of $5,150,000 from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant program. The agency will 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.
“Today’s grant award brings the RTA one huge step closer to electrifying our fleet and advancing efforts to mitigate climate change,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA Board. “This grant provides critical infrastructure – supporting efforts to strategically consider principles of environmental justice that ensure we are reducing air pollution for all New Orleanians, particularly low-income and communities of color.”
RTA is focused on reducing emissions and respiratory hazards in its service area to help improve riders’ health and quality of life. The funding will allow the agency to retire a number of older fixed route vehicles while expanding the Low-No Emissions fleet by introducing electric vehicles. 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. The award comes as the agency works to improve connectivity throughout the region and return to normal operations in support of an increase in ridership demand.
“The RTA is committed to creating a sustainable transit network for our riders and the city of New Orleans,” said Alex Z. Wiggins, RTA CEO. “We acknowledge the importance of climate change and are taking the necessary steps to expand the number of no emission vehicles in our fleet.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced $182 million in funding for low and no emissions buses and the facilities. FTA’s Low-No Program supports transit agencies in purchasing or leasing low- or no-emission buses and other transit vehicles that use technologies such as battery electric and fuel-cell power to provide cleaner, more efficient transit service in communities across the country. This year’s funding opportunity prioritized applications with an environmental justice component as well as those that support workforce development to help America’s transit workers succeed even as their jobs change along with technology.
The RTA was one of 49 projects in 46 states awarded funding to improve service and air quality within their communities. RTA anticipates implementation in the fourth quarter of 2021.