Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a $2,920,000 grant to the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) for the Low or No-Emission bus program to replace gas-powered buses in its fleet with electric buses and the accompanying charging infrastructure.
The NCRTD serves residents of northern New Mexico across five counties, including those in over 70 rural communities and nine federally-recognized Tribes. NCRTD expects the adoption of these vehicles to save over $1 million in fuel and maintenance costs across their lifecycles relative to gas-powered buses, allowing NCRTD to redirect the savings towards other pressing transit issues.
“Reliable access to safe and affordable transportation is critical for all New Mexicans, especially for rural and Tribal communities during this public health crisis,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Families across northern New Mexico rely on the freely accessible service that the North Central Regional Transit District provides to get the health care and essential services they need. This grant funding for low emission buses will provide not only reliable transportation, but also transportation opportunities that are cost-effective and good for public health and the environment. This funding is a step in the right direction to ensure that all New Mexicans are able to travel to medical facilities and essential work facilities while also providing a reliable resource for sustainable transportation once the pandemic subsides.”
“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 about saving thousands of lives every year by reducing our reliance on asthma-inducing diesel vehicles. That is why I am proud to lead the effort on the Low or No Emission Bus Access Act to improve funding and the application process for state and local governments to modernize aging bus fleets. As we welcome this funding, I will keep fighting to improve our modes of public transportation for a cleaner, brighter future.”
“Transitioning our state’s public transportation to low- and zero-emissions fleets doesn’t just protect our air, it makes economic sense too. These state-of-the-art buses will save the Northern Central Regional Transit District millions of dollars as they connect communities across northern New Mexico,” said Luján. “As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ll continue working to bring strong investments in green transportation and make New Mexico a leader in the fight against climate change.”
The Low or No Emission Grant program provides funding to state and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses. It also provides monetary support for the acquisition, construction and leasing of required supporting facilities.