WASHINGTON (March 3, 2020) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) has introduced the Low or No Emission Bus Access Act of 2020 to bolster federal investment in low and no emission buses and infrastructure and improve the grant application process.
“The Low or No Emission Bus Access Act improves both funding and the application process for state and local governments so they can better access the resources they need to modernize their aging bus fleets. When we support low or no emission vehicle projects, we provide communities with much-needed upgrades to their transportation infrastructure, promote cleaner air, and help expand rider access," said Heinrich. "Investing in cleaner transportation isn’t just about harnessing our innovative clean energy potential. It is also about meeting our moral imperative to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate the devastating and costly consequences of climate change.”
The Low or No Emission Bus Access Act of 2020 helps:
- Clarify existing low or no emission vehicle project eligibility under the Competitive Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program.
- Clarify timelines for solicitation of applications to, and awarding of grants from, the Competitive Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program.
- Extend the bipartisan Low or No Emission Vehicle Program established by the FAST Act – and increase the program’s authorization to $165 million per fiscal year for FY 2021-2025 to help lower oversubscription; in FY 2016-2019, an annual average of about $504 million in federal funding was requested by applicants.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.
The legislation is supported by the New Mexico Transit Association, South West Transit Association, American Public Transportation Association, and the Center for Transportation and the Environment.
“This legislation makes the process clearer for applicants by clarifying the existing low or no emission vehicle project eligibility under the Competitive Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program and by clarifying timelines for solicitation of the applications and awarding of grants under the program. Furthermore, the legislation would better align the program’s funding with the demand from communities. These changes are welcomed and supported by the 45 public transit agencies that NMTA represents in New Mexico,” said Joe Hardin, President of the New Mexico Transit Association and Anthony Mortillaro, NMTA Legislative Committee Chair and Executive Director of the North Central Regional Transit District.
“As communities and their elected leaders are increasingly prioritizing green transit fleets – including pledges of state and local matching funds – federal investment has not kept pace in providing enough funding to meet the demand for low- and no-emissions vehicles. We support legislation introduced by Senator Heinrich to meaningfully increase investment from current levels and deliver more environmentally-friendly vehicles to communities throughout the SWTA Nation and nationwide,” said Rich Sampson, Executive Director of the South West Transit Association.
“On behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I want to thank Senator Heinrich for his leadership in crafting the Low or No Emission Bus Access Act. This legislation recognizes the importance of real investment in new technology as public transportation agencies work to replace aging bus fleets, increase ridership, and promote cleaner air. Public transit agencies are at the forefront of transitioning to cleaner fuel sources. Currently more than 56 percent of transit buses use alternative fuels, and the opportunity for increased adoption of new technologies is clear. We look forward to working with you to address this and other critical issues in bipartisan surface transportation legislation this year,” said Paul P. Skoutelas, President and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association.
“We applaud Senator Heinrich’s leadership on the Low or No Emission Bus Access Act of 2020. A national non-profit organization, CTE’s mission is to improve the health of our climate and communities by bringing people together to develop and commercialize clean, efficient, and sustainable transportation technologies. Ensuring that the FTA’s Low/No Emission Bus grant program is fully funded is a critical tool in combating climate change - and we look forward to continuing to work with the Senator to expand federal support in order to meet the growing national need,” said Dan Raudebaugh, Executive Director of the Center for Transportation and the Environment.
Previously, Senator Heinrich has helped secure $1.485 million in funding for Los Alamos Atomic City Transit through the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program to purchase electric buses and charging systems. Heinrich also supported funding for the City of Las Cruces, which received $1.45 million to help purchase battery-electric buses and charging systems.