Forty-five states plus the District of Columbia will get a total of $776 million in grants to help upgrade their bus fleets, bus facilities, and related equipment under the Transportation Department's "State of Good Repair" program, Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.
"Currently more than 40 percent of the nation's buses are in poor or marginal condition," LaHood said in a conference call with reporters.
The DOT earlier this year projected that $78 billion would be needed to bring the nation's bus and rail systems into a state of good repair.
"Clearly, we need to step up our efforts to invest in modern transportation systems for the 21st century; these bus grants are an important down payment," LaHood said.
The grants will fund 152 projects, including $36.7 million to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority for transit vehicle replacement.
The City and County of San Francisco got $35 million for a new bus maintenance facility located on 8.3 acres of land, replacing a facility that "has not been renovated or modernized since it was built 60 years ago, and is too small, overcrowded, and out-of-date to properly maintain SFMTA's growing fleet of motor coaches, including hybrid vehicles," according to the Federal Transit Administration.
LaHood said that the grants will allow some systems to replace aging buses with more environmentally friendly models.
New Jersey Transit, for example, will receive $22 million to replace buses in its fleet that are "beyond their useful lives" with compressed natural gas buses "that will reduce overall energy usage and emissions," the agency announced.
FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, who also spoke on the call, said that the agency had received $4.2 billion in applications for the State of Good Repair grants. The program was designed to help transit providers modernize their operations and improve safety and efficiency.
Rogoff said that in deciding where to put the funds, FTA considered the age of the applicant's assets and the ability of each transit agency "to tackle the investments of this kind."