September of last year is when Congressman Al Lawson announced that StarMetro would receive a $1 million federal grant from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration to purchase 15 new electric buses. The City of Tallahassee’s StarMetro is one out of the 51 transportation projects to receive the FTA grant.
Lawson played a valuable role in securing the grant by writing a letter in support of the city’s application to participate in the FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program in the summer of 2017. “Zero emission is good for the economy,” said Lawson, “and to be able to secure money at the federal level to improve keeping the environment clean by using natural resources is very significant for the city.”
These new electric buses are set to replace aging diesel buses and will ultimately lower fuel cost and emissions, as well as improve the air quality of the city. StarMetro currently has five zero emission buses in fleet that came about from a FTA grant in 2013. Compared to these buses, the new buses that are being added to transit will be able to go a further distance without needing a recharge. This project of multiplying the number of zero emission buses the city already has is a continued effort to transition out of using diesel buses completely.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum praised StarMetro for being one of the selected few for this grant.
“This award offers tremendous support for our efforts to grow and refine our electric bus fleet,” said Gillum, “and further advances the commitment to clean and renewable energy that we have embraced as a community.”
Although there was some confusion that these buses may be assigned to a particular university’s campus in the city, Lawson confirmed that this is not true.
“There is more mileage to be covered than just going to the campuses,” said Lawson.
The buses will travel the large distance between terminals just to come back together at the CK Steele bus station. Officials are interested to see the resources that will be saved by using more electric buses. This includes the fewer gas products and a better repair system that will be used.
An estimated date as to when the buses can be expected has not been released. However, according to officials, those who use the city of Tallahassee’s public transportation system can look forward to a more clean, reliable and affordable ride during their daily transit.
“I currently depend on the bus for transportation,” said Zon Henderson, a Tallahassee resident. “Just to hear that there is something being done to better us and the environment is really pleasing.”