Gem State Roundup
Nearly $17.8 million granted to two Idaho transportation improvement projects
State of Idaho Transportation Department headquarters in Boise on March 21, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
A total of nearly $17.8 million was granted to two transportation improvement projects in Idaho through President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
The law invested $1.66 billion in grants toward low and no emission public transportation across the nation, according to the Federal Transit Administration.
The majority of the funding for Idaho was granted to Valley Regional Transit in Boise, where nearly $17.4 million will go toward buying a fleet of electric vehicles and chargers to replace the buses that have exceeded their lifespan. The project also aims to improve workforce development and improve public transportation in one of Idaho’s fastest growing areas.
The remaining $384,000 in funding will go to the Idaho Transportation Department to purchase new commuter vans for Mountain Rides in Blaine County, which will improve commuter and non-emergency medical transportation in the rural area.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $1.66 billion in grants going toward investments in 150 bus fleets and facilities across the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Over 1,100 of the new vehicles, an addition that will nearly double the number of zero-emission transit buses in the nation, will use zero-emissions technology to reduce air pollution and help reach Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Training for transit workers will be included in the bus funding for the first time, with 5% going toward teaching employees how to use and maintain the zero and low emission vehicles.
The bus grant awards are the first of the Federal Transit Administration’s selections under the bipartisan infrastructure law. The grants are funded by the Federal Transit Administration’s buses and bus facilities program and the low and no emission vehicle program.
The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program supports transit agencies by buying and rehabilitating used buses and vans as well as building maintenance facilities. The Low or No Emission Grant Program allows transit agencies to buy or lease low to no emission vehicles and the related equipment built in the U.S.
A full list of the projects that received funding can be found on the Federal Transit Administration’s website.
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