More zero-emission buses are headed to local streets thanks to a grant awarded to OCTA through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for battery-electric paratransit buses.
OCTA will receive $2.5 million in federal funding toward the purchase of 10 battery-electric buses that will replace 10 gasoline-powered buses in the OC ACCESS program. OC ACCESS provides approximately 1.5 million boardings annually serving bus riders with physical or cognitive disabilities.
The money is part of nearly $1.7 billion in federal funding being awarded to transit agencies nationwide – $236 million throughout California – available through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in late 2021. The competitive grants are awarded through the FTA’s Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission Vehicle programs. Nationwide, the FTA is helping fund 150 projects in 46 states and putting at least 1,800 new buses on the road, most of them producing zero emissions.
"This funding will help further OCTA’s efforts to convert our public transit fleet to producing zero emissions, which will result in even cleaner air for Orange County while we continue to provide the same level of reliable, convenient service for everyone who needs accessible transportation,” said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also the Mayor of Orange.
In addition to paying for the new 22-foot battery-electric buses for a pilot program, the funding will help cover the cost for infrastructure needed to charge the paratransit buses.
The overall project cost is approximately $5 million, with additional OCTA funding identified to cover the remainder.
“When a transit door opens, whether it is a bus, train, or ferry, it is a great equalizer for everyone in our nation,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said in a statement.
OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson said federal funding plays an essential role in fulfilling OCTA’s mission to leverage local funds to help keep Orange County moving safely and efficiently, while protecting the environment.
“We appreciate the ongoing partnership with the FTA as we work toward a balanced and sustainable transportation future,” Johnson said.
OCTA is already working toward a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040.