Funds help put 123 new buses on the road in about a year’s time
TriMet has been awarded $5 million by the Federal Transit Administration to buy new buses. TriMet applied for State of Good Repair (SGR) grant funds in March for bus replacements and was notified by the U.S. Department of Transportation this week about the award. This comes on the heels of two other federal grants previously announced that totaled $7.5 million.
TriMet will now be able to increase the pace of replacing its aging buses, some of which are more than 20 years old. The agency reinstated its annual bus purchase program with 55 new buses that will be in service this September. For next year, the agency had already ordered 54 new buses. The SGR grant now allows TriMet to expand that order to 68. So, in about a year’s time TriMet will be able to put 123 new buses on the road.
TriMet expects to lower the average age of its bus fleet to eight years by fiscal year 2020, and have the entire fleet made up of low-floor buses by 2017. By reducing the age of the fleet, TriMet will have more fuel-efficient, cleaner running buses. A younger fleet will also reduce the amount of maintenance needed, lowering repair and upkeep costs.
In addition to federal monies, most of the new bus funding is through debt service that cannot be used to pay for transit service.