The City and Borough of Juneau is looking to make its public transit a little cleaner, and the federal government is helping out.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave $55 million worth of grants to 51 projects in 39 states looking to pursue using low-emission practices for public transportation. The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities was one of the grant recipients, and will use the money for battery electric buses, chargers and a backup generator, according to a release from the Federal Transit Administration.
CBJ Chief Landscaping Architect Michele Elfers said it’s still not clear exactly how money will come to Juneau, but city officials should know by next week. The FTA release spoke specifically of Juneau, saying that if the city is able to convert its Capital Transit buses to electric, the city will reduce emissions and save money on having to ship diesel fuel to town.
In 2015, multiple tourism companies expressed interest in moving toward more environmentally friendly buses, but purchasing electric buses was financially daunting, as buses were valued at $850,000 at the time.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was passed in 2015, made FTA’s grants possible. The act authorizes FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program, which includes the Low or No Emission Grants Program, which supplied these grants.