City awarded $26.4M federal transit grant for an energy efficient RTS

Published on July 10, 2024


The City of Gainesville Department of Transportation has been awarded $26.4 million in grant funding, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced this week. The award is the city’s largest single federal grant for its Regional Transit System (RTS).

Much of the award, $21.9 million, will enable the city to purchase full-sized hybrid electric buses. The remaining funding, just shy of $4.5 million, will be used to build the city’s first solar-generating facility at the RTS administration complex. The federal award is specifically earmarked for modernizing public transportation systems and cannot be reallocated toward operating or administrative costs.

“Thanks to this historic investment in sustainable public transportation for our community by the Biden Administration, we’ll have one of the newest – and most fuel-efficient – transit fleets in the entire state,” said Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward. “This funding will truly help us better serve our neighbors who rely on RTS for safe, efficient and reliable transportation every single day.”

In February, Mayor Ward traveled to Washington, D.C., strengthening relationships with FTA officials and advocating for continued federal support.

“This significant investment in clean energy technologies underscores our commitment to building a more sustainable future for our community,” said Gainesville City Manager Cynthia W. Curry. “Most importantly, the upgrades will provide eco-friendly transportation for all neighbors, aligning with our vision of sustainability and mobility for all.”

New buses may begin to arrive in 2026, with the RTS team prioritizing the replacement of existing diesel buses based on mileage and age. The new buses will add to the five hybrid-diesel buses and four battery-electric buses currently part of the RTS fleet.

Meanwhile, once the planning and permitting processes for the on-site solar power facility are complete, construction will begin at the RTS complex, likely within a few years. The new facility will harness clean, renewable power, offsetting a significant portion of the complex’s annual electricity consumption. In addition, solar panel power generation will help charge the electric bus fleet.

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, nearly $5 billion has been awarded in the past three years to modernize public transportation in America, including the approximately $1.5 billion in funding announced this week.

“Today, another 117 communities across 47 states are receiving the good news that their transit buses are being modernized and their commutes improved through President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Biden-Harris Administration is helping agencies replace old buses running on dirtier, expensive fuels by delivering modern and zero-emission buses, manufactured by American workers, that will connect more people to where they need to go,” he said.

Building a sustainable community and mobility for all neighbors are key principles of the city’s strategic plan.