Columbus receives $1.7 M to buy hybrid buses - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus receives $1.7 M to buy hybrid buses

Photo sample of a GM Proterra Hybrid bus. (Source: GM) Photo sample of a GM Proterra Hybrid bus. (Source: GM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Thursday, it was announced that Columbus is the only city in Georgia to receive a Clean Air Grant, and it will go towards public transportation.

The US Department of Transportation just awarded Metra $1.7 million to purchase four hybrid buses.

The new buses will replace regular diesel buses currently in the fleet. cutting down on fuel costs and air pollution.

"Columbus believes in moving forward in terms of being environmentally friendly and transit is one piece of that puzzle. We're so pleased to have the federal government come in and assist us with this effort," said Saundra Hunter, Director of Metra. 

The new hybrid buses will also create a quieter ride for passengers and will cut down on noise pollution. The new buses are in production right now and should be on Columbus roads in 2013.

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The following is a press release from the Georgia Department of Transportation 

COLUMBUS, GA – Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan was in Columbus today to announce that METRA will receive $1.7 million in federal funding for for an innovative transit project that will help our nation reduce its dependence on costly oil while creating a marketplace for valuable 21st Century ‘green' jobs.

The project was among 46 that were selected nationwide through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) competitive Fiscal Year 2011 Sustainability Initiative, which includes funding from two FTA programs: Clean Fuels Grant Program and Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) III Grant Program. 

 "This grant and others like it will put thousands of Americans back to work building sustainable, energy-efficient transit vehicles and facilities across the country," said Secretary LaHood. "The Obama Administration is committed to investing in the cutting-edge transportation projects that will keep our economy moving forward."

The METRA Transit System in Columbus, Georgia, will use the funds to purchase four hybrid-electric buses to replace four 14-year old buses that have reached the end of their useful lives.

"The Federal Transit Administration is tapping into American innovation and ingenuity to promote leading edge energy efficient transportation technologies," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.  "These continued investments help combat the pain commuters feel at the gas pump and curb the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the air we breathe."

Clean Fuels grant recipients were chosen through a competitive selection process based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide, while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

TIGGER III grants were competitively selected based on a project's ability to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and provide a return on the investment. Since 2009, the TIGGER program has invested in numerous innovative transit projects that bring to market advanced fuel-cell and hydrogen-powered buses and allow for the development of sustainable transportation stations.

The Federal Transit Administration reviewed 266 project applications for both grant programs representing more than $1 billion in funding requests from transit providers across the country.

A full list of successful proposals can be found at http://fta.dot.gov/grants/13094.htm.

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