WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that TriMet was awarded a nearly $2.3 million grant to purchase five new, zero–emission buses for its fleet.
“Right now communities across Oregon are suffering from thick smoke blanketing our skies, caused in part by hotter and drier conditions that feed massive wildfires. It is past time to take long-term action to mitigate these very real effects of climate chaos,” Merkley said. “By accelerating the adoption of no-emission vehicles, we can take a major step in moving away from carbon pollution and improving the health of our communities. These next-generation buses are putting us on the road to more efficient and sustainable public transportation.”
“Climate change’s devastating effects on public health are painfully apparent with the hazy air and smoke choking Oregonians in the Portland metro area and statewide,” Wyden said. “Helping TriMet to buy zero-emission buses reduces carbon pollution that feeds climate change, and accelerates public transit’s move to a greener future.”
“We value the continued leadership of senators Merkley and Wyden and applaud their efforts to secure investments that contribute to our clean energy future,” said Doug Kelsey, TriMet General Manager. “This type of funding is critical to our development of an efficient, sustainable and reliable transition to a non-diesel fleet.”
The Low or No Emission Program provides funding to state and local governmental authorities to purchase or lease zero-emission and low-emission public buses, including the acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities.
Portland is joining Eugene and Salem in transitioning to low- and no- emission public transportation. Merkley used his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure $777 million in the Senate’s 2019 spending bill for Bus and Bus Facilities Grants, which help transit agencies purchase new buses and replace aging fleets, in particular transitioning to new low- or no-emission vehicles. The bill passed the Senate floor earlier this month.
TriMet will use Low or No Emission Program grant as matching funds for its investment in five new electric buses, doubling its electric fleet to 10.