Monday - Friday
Monday - Friday
Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help localities modernize bus fleets; nearly half of the models will be zero-emissions vehicles.
The Biden administration on Monday announced it will allocate $1.7 billion in funding for “more than 1,700 American-built buses that will be manufactured with American parts and labor,” nearly half of which will be zero-emission models.
Transit agencies in 46 states and territories will receive funding to buy new buses and make improvements to bus facilities. For example, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is set to receive $104 million to convert a bus garage to a fully electric facility, buy 100 battery-electric buses and train employees to run the new electric system. In Seattle, King County Metro Transit will receive $33.5 million to buy 30 new electric buses and train its employees to run the fleet.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) put together an interactive map showcasing the award recipients, and the agency made sure to note that “[e]very single vehicle purchased with these funds will be made in the U.S., supporting good paying manufacturing jobs in communities around the country.”
DOT did not specify which companies would receive contracts to build the new buses. However, the agency did note that 22 of the funded projects “will operate with project labor agreements to ensure their efficient and timely completion, and 34 projects have committed to the gold standard model of registered apprenticeship, with supportive services such as childcare for employees.”
That’s not all, either. The zero-emission bus grants will also include millions of dollars in funding for workforce training programs, helping to “transition today’s diesel mechanics to tomorrow’s electric motor technicians.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said:
“Every day, over 60,000 buses in communities of all sizes take millions of Americans to work, school, and everywhere else they need to go. Today’s announcement means more clean buses, less pollution, more jobs in manufacturing and maintenance, and better commutes for families across the country.”
Monday’s announcement is very good news. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has previously urged DOT to do more to ensure its projects are Made in America, including by removing the long-time general applicability waiver of Buy America requirements for construction materials. And when it comes to buses specifically, not all federal agencies have committed to purchasing American-made — the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bizarrely decided not to apply Buy America to the Clean School Bus Program.
But it’s encouraging that DOT is now publicly committing to American-made buses. Buttigieg is right — by allocating this tax money to American workers and companies to build these buses, not only will the United States make further progress in its transition to a clean energy economy, but it will build a stronger zero-emission bus industry and support a whole lot of well paid jobs in the process. The Biden administration is on the right track here, and we encourage officials to continue to opt for Made in America as they allocate funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.