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TCAT Receives $8.7M to Buy 10 More Electric Buses

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration and U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office recently notified TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool that his agency was awarded an $8.74 million grant through the FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program. The money will be used to purchase 10 more battery-electric transit vehicles, including six 40-foot and four smaller buses.

In April 2021, TCAT launched seven of its first-ever electric-battery buses, manufactured by Proterra, after securing money from the Low-No program. TCAT’s goal is to transform its entire fleet of what is now comprised of more than 50 buses to become entirely emissions free by 2035.

“Our riders and community members have been so appreciative to see emission-free mass transit vehicles on the street; tangible evidence that we are making strides toward a cleaner-and-greener future,” Vanderpool said. “Our community has always been forward-thinking in pushing for environmental sustainability, which in turn has inspired TCAT to aggressively pursue funding over the past several years to make that vision a reality.”

According to the FTA news release, that reality from a national standpoint translates to hundreds of cleaner vehicles on the country’s thoroughfares. “With today's awards, we’re helping communities across America – in cities, suburbs, and rural areas alike – purchase more than 1,800 new buses, and most of them are zero-emission,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in the news release. “Funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this announcement means more good jobs for people across the country, cleaner air in our communities, and more affordable and reliable options to help people get to where they need to go.”

Earlier this year, TCAT started the lengthy procurement process to purchase what was initially proposed to be five more full-sized Proterra buses to arrive on site by late spring of 2023. TCAT is still finalizing the funding mechanism to pay for those buses, which might include money from a combination of state-administered capital funding programs and existing capital money from TCAT’s own coffers. Due to financial constraints, however, that acquisition is not yet finalized and the number of buses from that order might be reduced to three or four, Vanderpool said.

“Naturally, this week’s FTA award announcement really took a great deal of financial pressure off of TCAT to fulfill much-needed capital improvements,” Vanderpool said, “And, we are so thankful to the Biden Administration, to New York’s U.S. lawmakers to include both Sen. Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and our many other advocates for their tireless efforts at getting this massive clean-energy legislation through its many hurdles.”

Vanderpool said the next step is for TCAT staff to establish a timeline for yet another procurement process, noting that it takes several months to manufacture any type of transit bus. He said the current plan is to use the award to fund six 40-foot Proterra Model ZX5 electric buses; four smaller Lightning E Motor electric micro buses; overhead chargers to be installed at TCAT’s facility; and money to train TCAT mechanics on emission-free technology.

- Ithaca Times, 8/16/22

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News and Events

Net-Zero Cities Panel on Blueprint for Equitable Decarbonization

In November 2021, the City of Ithaca announced the approval of a plan to decarbonize all of its buildings by 2030, making it the first city in the United States working to become 100% decarbonized. With greenhouse gas emissions being the leading cause of global warming, decarbonization substitutes harmful energy systems with renewable sources.

Organized by Climate Now and co-hosted by Story House Ithaca, this community event brings together local leaders to discuss what it will take for the City of Ithaca to decarbonize equitably and bring the city's net emissions down to zero. How can local residents benefit from Ithaca's net-zero journey? What skills are needed to retrofit all of Ithaca's buildings? What needs to be done to ensure the energy transition doesn't unduly burden any of Ithaca's residents but instead uplifts them and builds community wealth and resilience?

Moderator: James Lawler, Climate Now

Dr. Luis Aguirre-Torres, City of Ithaca
Dr. Neha Khanna, Binghamton University and Cornell University
Rebecca Evans, City of Ithaca
Dr. Aigbokhan Aloja Airewele, Green Energy Workforce Training Center

When: September 29, 2022, 5:00-7:30 PM EST
Where: Soil Factory, 610 Elmira Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850

Register today here.

The event is part of a three-part event series, in partnership with The Future of Small Cities Institute, diving into Ithaca's plans and strategies to transform energy and society, to then create a blueprint for cities across the United States. It will be recorded and edited for a podcast for a global audience.

Next TCCPI Meeting

Friday, September 30, 2022
9:00 - 11:00 am
Due to the current pandemic, the monthly TCCPI meetings have moved online. Contact Peter Bardaglio, the TCCPI coordinator, for further details at pbardaglio@gmail.com.

If you have any issues you would like to bring to the TCCPI monthly meetings, please e-mail us at info@tccpi.org. General meetings are on the last Friday of every month, except for November and December. Because of the holidays, the November-December meeting is held on the second Friday of December.

The Ithaca 2030 District

Visit TCCPI's latest project, the Ithaca 2030 District, an interdisciplinary public-private collaboration working to create a groundbreaking high-performance building district in Downtown Ithaca.