North Central Regional Transit District to receive nearly $3 million for green bus program

By:  Scott Wyland

The U.S. Transportation Department has awarded $2.9 million to a regional transit district to help replace fuel-powered buses with electric vehicles. 

The money will be used to replace three diesel- and two gasoline-powered buses within the North Central Regional Transit District's 55-vehicle fleet. 

Boosting the green bus program is expected to save the district $1 million in fuel and maintenance costs, decrease greenhouse gases and free up money to spend on other transit needs, the district said in a news release. The funds also will pay for building and leasing facilities where the electric buses can be stored and charged.

Three New Mexico congressional delegates applauded the grant money awarded to the district, which serves five counties, 70 rural communities and nine federally recognized pueblos and tribes. 

“Reliable access to safe and affordable transportation is critical for all New Mexicans, especially for rural and tribal communities during this public health crisis,” Sen. Tom Udall said in a statement. 

Funding electric buses is good for public health and will be a sustainable mode of transportation after the pandemic passes, Udall said. 

Sen. Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján also expressed support for federal money going toward replacing fuel-powered buses.  

In addition to saving the district money and assisting in the fight against climate change, the buses will help connect communities across Northern New Mexico, Luján said in a statement. 

“Transitioning our state’s public transportation to low- and zero-emissions fleets doesn’t just protect our air, it makes economic sense, too," he said.