VTA scores grant for electric, zero-emission buses

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority was awarded nearly $2.5 million to purchase a new fleet of zero-emissions buses as well as related infrastructure, South Bay congress members announced today.

A federal grant of $2,458,305 was awarded to the VTA under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Low or No Emission Bus and Bus Facilities program, according to U.S. reps Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley), Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose).

The grant will be used to purchase battery electric zero-emission buses and fast-charging stations, upgrade a maintenance facility to service electric buses, and to provide workforce development on new technology buses.

The project aims to reduce carbon pollution and strengthen the economy while maximizing returns on public investments, Lofgren’s office said.

In a letter supporting the VTA’s grant application, which was submitted in June, Honda, Eshoo and Lofgren wrote that winning the funding for the VTA would:

“provide an ideal opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation to highlight clean energy-efficient, American-made, electric powered transit buses making an impact.”

Honda said in a statement:

“This is another example of how effective leadership at the federal level can support innovative efforts locally to promote the use of clean energy, green transportation options that will reduce traffic on our roadways. … This is an important triumph for our region and for our environment.”

VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez said in a statement:

“It is the VTA’s role to pursue the most forward-thinking mobility solutions on the market to help us achieve our innovation and sustainability goals for our communities. … Integrating zero emission buses into our system is a top priority as we continue to redefine transit service in Silicon Valley, the most emblematic innovation hub in the world.”

The electric buses will provide free public transportation connections between VTA’s Metro Light Rail Station in San Jose, Mineta San Jose International Airport, and the Caltrain Commuter Rail Station in Santa Clara, according to Lofgren’s office.