Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the Federal Transportation Administration is awarding transit districts in Oregon $17,129,662 for the purchase or lease of low- or no-emission vehicles, and related equipment or facilities.

“As climate chaos intensifies, we must act boldly and quickly to transition to clean and renewable strategies,” Merkley said. “Low- and no-emission buses mean better health for our communities and less pollution in the environment. This federal investment will turn regular transit updates into opportunities for safer air and combatting climate chaos.”

“Energy-efficient public transit systems are a huge step critical to economic growth and combatting climate change in Oregon,” said Wyden, who authored historic clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, which could cut national carbon emissions by upwards of 40%. “These resources for communities all over the state to transition to zero-emission vehicles will be a game-changer for increased transit services and a clean energy future for our state.”

This FTA funding is part of the Low- or No-Emission Grant Program and the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program. These grants support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector; incorporate evidence-based climate resilience measures and features; avoid adverse environmental impacts to air or water quality, wetlands, and endangered species; and address the disproportionate negative environmental impacts of transportation on disadvantaged communities.

“We want to thank Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden for considering RVTD’s ability to provide public transportation during natural disasters such as the Almeda Fire. These six Hybrid-Electric Diesel buses will run on 100% renewable diesel fuel, replacing older traditional diesel and CNG buses. These new buses will allow RVTD to continue operations if the electrical grid is compromised,” said Julie Brown, General Manager, Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD).

“By replacing our oldest vehicles with zero-emission buses, this grant is a significant step toward enhanced service and modernization of our vehicle fleet,” said Ian Davidson, Board President of Cherriots. “With these funds, we will be able to double down on the transition of our fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2040. I would like to thank Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley, and Congresswoman Salinas for their support in securing the funding to make this project a reality.”

“Hood River County Transportation District is thrilled to hear that we were awarded these funds. This investment will move the district towards full electrification and help preserve this beautiful region we call home,” said Amy Schlappi, Executive Director, Columbia Area Transit. “Public transit is already a major step towards sustainability and adding electric vehicles to our fleet of purple buses is an even bigger leap in that direction. Visitors and locals will soon be able to ride in new, quiet vehicles while taking in breathtaking views out the window. We like to think “purple” is the new “green”. 

Information on the Low- or No-Emission Grant awards coming to Oregon can be found below:

  • $6,586,104 to Salem Area Mass Transit District for their Zero Emission Battery Electric Bus and Related Facilities Project.
  • $3,937,500 to Rogue Valley Transportation District for Renewable Resiliency Buses. 
  • $181,250 to ODOT for the Cascade East Transit’s Low Emission Employer Vanpools and Support Vehicles.

Information on the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program award can be found below:

  • $6,424,808 to ODOT for the Hood River County Transportation District Zero Emission Bus Transition Project.