Pierce Transit receives $2.55 million grant for electric buses

The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Pierce Transit a grant for $2.55 million to purchase the agency’s first-ever all-electric, zero-emission buses and related infrastructure. Pierce Transit applied for the very competitive Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo) grant earlier this year. The LoNo grant program, which is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, aims to put a new generation of advanced, non-polluting transit buses on roadways across the nation.

Almost 80 percent of Pierce Transit’s current fleet runs on clean, compressed natural gas (CNG). The new electric buses will replace some of the agency’s remaining diesel buses.

“Pierce Transit began its commitment to clean energy 30 years ago when it began converting its fleet to CNG,” said Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier. “This new electric technology will help us build on our strong legacy of environmental stewardship while further diversifying our fleet.”

Pierce Transit had requested $6.3 million for the grant, which the agency estimated would have purchased six buses and related infrastructure. It is estimated that the $2.55 million awarded will fund at least two buses and related infrastructure, although the grant requires at least a 20 percent local match, so the number of buses could be higher.

“As the South Sound population continues to grow, it’s critical for residents to have transportation options that are safe, efficient, and able to meet the demands of the 21st century economy,” Senator Patty Murray said. “I’m proud to support the kind of federal investments that can make a real difference in our communities, whether it’s helping get a student to class or an employee to a job site, and I applaud Pierce Transit for its strong application and its ongoing commitment to a more environmentally-friendly fleet.”​

Sen. Murray wrote a letter of support for Pierce Transit’s grant application along with Sen. Maria Cantwell and Representatives Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck, Adam Smith and Dave Reichert.

The precise timeline to get the new buses on the road will be determined once the agency enters the procurement process for the buses and related infrastructure. The new vehicles will be the first all-electric buses to operate in South Sound.

– Pierce County Transit