FDEP awards Gainesville $1.2 million grant
Published on March 02, 2023
The effort to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions will get a boost in Gainesville with a $1.2 million grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The grant, which Gainesville City Commissioners voted to accept at today’s commission meeting, will enable the City’s Regional Transit System (RTS) to retire four diesel buses and replace them with four new battery-electric models. The additional $2.8 million in funding to complete the purchase of the buses will come from the Federal Transit Administration.
The new buses will join four battery-electric buses that were added to the City’s fleet during the past two years. The zero-emission buses each travel an estimated 150-200 miles per charge, connect to existing ChargePoint stations at RTS Headquarters, and can accommodate up to 38 seated passengers.
“By replacing aging diesel buses in the fleet with battery-powered models, we can continue to provide reliable transportation services to our community in a more fuel-efficient manner,” said Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward.
Following the success of the initial, environmentally-friendly additions to the transit system in 2021, FDEP approached Gainesville transportation leaders to ask if the City would take part in the state’s Electric Transit Bus Grant Program. The program is supported through Florida’s portion of funds from the VW Settlement Agreement, a set of penalties and fines levied against Volkswagen over claims its vehicles violated the U.S. Clean Air Act.
Funding awarded to Gainesville for the new electric buses will be spread out over the next four years. This will provide continued financial support as the City works to replace diesel buses and meet the FDEP program goal of mitigating mobile sources of emissions. As part of this plan, the City guarantees the older diesel models will never return to the road. Instead, the retired buses will go through a specified scrapping process.
The battery-electric buses are powered by an electric drivetrain and onboard batteries. The buses will be built by GILLIG of Livermore, CA, and are expected to arrive in late 2024.
For additional information, please contact City of Gainesville Public Information Officer Rossana Passaniti at 352-393-7842 or PassanitiR1@GainesvilleFL.gov.