Transit agency awarded $1.45 million for two 35-foot battery-electric buses

The City of Wilsonville's South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) agency has been awarded a $1.45 million grant by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the purchase of new electric-powered buses. Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation's "Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Bus Program Projects," SMART plans to purchase two 35-foot battery-electric buses and their accompanying charging systems. The City of Wilsonville is providing a $400,000 match, giving the project a total amount of $1.85 million. SUBMITTED PHOTO - The two buses will be 35-foot battery-powered electric buses built by Portera.

SMART was one of 51 public-transit agencies nationwide to receive one of the less than $55 million Low-No Program grants.

In addition to eliminating the production of greenhouse gas emissions, SMART partner and bus manufacturer Proterra reports significantly lower maintenance costs with electric buses compared to conventional diesel engines, producing $151,000 in operational savings per vehicle over a 12-year lifetime.

The grant award was announced Sept. 15 by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Congressman Kurt Schrader, who released a joint-statement.

"SMART serves a crucial role providing public-transit services in the increasingly congested South Metro I-5 Corridor between the North Willamette Valley and the greater Portland metro region of Oregon's First and Fifth Congressional Districts," the statement said. "Electric vehicles are part of the solution as we work to address climate change and lower-polluting emissions. Congratulations to Wilsonville and SMART on leading the way toward a greener future and providing residents with clean public transportation options."

"The Wilsonville City Council has made a firm commitment to transitioning the SMART bus fleet to a more sustainable, green future focused on alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric, CNG and diesel-electric hybrids," SMART Director Dwight Brashear said. "Together with Tri-Met, SMART serves as an integral component of the Portland metro regional 'Climate Smart Strategy' that calls for increased investments in transit improvements to reduce vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases."