The Pima County Department of Transportation will receive $3.8 million from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase all-electric buses and charging equipment. The Low-or-No Emission program is operated by the FTA for the purpose of promoting more energy-efficient busses. This includes the acquisition, construction and leasing of required facilities.
According to the FTA, transportation accounts for 29 percent of U.S greenhouse gas emissions. Public transportation produces less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than private vehicles, with Bus transit producing 33 percent less.
The Low-or-No Emissions Grant program included Tucson in 2019 as well, with a grant of $2.6 million. The program was awarded the most money in 2020 out of all previous years with a total of almost $130 million.
The grant money will go to SunTran, Tucson’s public transportation system. After SunTran received the grant in 2019, Tucson Electric Power, TEP, vowed to “provide ongoing technical and planning support as well as matching funds for bus charging stations and other infrastructure as needed.”
In the same release by TEP, the company had also tapped into the public transportation industry in 2014 with the initiation of the Sun Link electric tram.
Since 2015, SunTran has seen a reduction in their annual passenger trips. Before 2015, SunTran saw between 17 and 21 million trips annually. Since, the range is between 15 and16 million with the lowest being in 2018 with 15.2 million, according to SunTran’s statistics.