EPA grant will help purchase seven electric buses for the Port Authority | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

EPA grant will help purchase seven electric buses for the Port Authority

click to enlarge EPA grant will help purchase seven electric buses for the Port Authority
Stock photo of an electric bus
Today, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that the county’s health department was awarded a grant of more than $5.6 million that will go toward offsetting the purchases of battery-electric buses and a charging station.

Port Authority of Allegheny County is purchasing seven 60-foot articulated battery-electric buses and one electric charging station. The buses and charging station will be used as part of the soon-to-come Bus Rapid Transit corridor between Downtown and Oakland, and beyond.

“We are quite fortunate in this community to have so many collaborations that benefit our region – and this announcement is no exception,” said Fitzgerald. “The application by the Health Department for this funding from the Targeted Airshed Grant (TAG) Program, and the award by the EPA, will go a long way in helping Port Authority continue to transition to a more environmentally-friendly bus fleet, leading to better air quality and a cleaner environment for our citizens and our region.”
The federal Environmental Protection Agency grant was applied for by the Allegheny County Health Department as part of the Targeted Airshed Grant (TAG) Program. The TAG Program funds projects that benefit the environment by reducing carbon emissions in areas with historically poor air quality.

According to a press release, this is the largest TAG grant Allegheny County has ever seen.

Allegheny County consistently receives failing air quality grades from the American Lung Association, mostly caused by the fossil-fuel and industrial facilities in the region. Health Department director Dr. Debra Bogen says “this is a small but important step toward cleaner air for all.”

Port Authority released its first two electric buses into service earlier this year. Since then, the authority has purchased six additional electric buses, which should arrive sometime in late 2021.

Earlier this year, the Port Authority missed out on grants from the state and federal transportation departments, and was passed over by other transit agencies who were requesting gasoline and natural-gas-powered buses. Today’s announcement puts Port Authority back on track in its goal of growing its electric bus fleet.

“Receiving this grant will help us put electric vehicles in densely-populated areas with high public transit ridership,” said Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman. “We are grateful to the Allegheny County Health Department for submitting this application on our behalf as we continue to move toward a more environmentally-friendly fleet.”

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