AL: Federal dollars create new WAVE in mobile

Mobile is the only city in Alabama with a transit agency receiving federal money to buy new buses as part of a $409.3 million grant announced Monday by the Federal Transit Administration of the department. American Transportation.

The city’s WAVE transit system will receive $4.9 million in federal funding through the bipartisan infrastructure program to purchase 12 additional buses. The total purchase of $6.1 million will be supported by $1.2 million from local investment funds.

“We are very pleased that the City of Mobile and WAVE Transit System grant application was selected from thousands of submissions from across the country,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement to AL.com. “Together with local matching funds, this federal investment in our transit system will help modernize our entire fleet of fixed-route vehicles.

Indeed, the 12 new buses will be added to the five new buses that the city has already received and four others that will be delivered by May 2022.

They will replace the aging buses that exist in the WAVE fleet. Older buses are considered “beyond their useful life”, and city spokesman Jason Johnson said there will be no service expansion. Expanding WAVE’s routes was a campaign issue in last year’s mayoral race. Stimpson was criticized by two of his challengers for not considering an expansion of bus routes to Chickasaw, Theodore, Eight Mile and Prichard.

“These buses are 1 for 1 replacement,” Johnson said.

The 21 new buses mean nearly three-quarters of the transit agency’s 29 fixed-route buses will be new.

“With funding for 12 additional buses now secured, the entire WAVE fleet will soon be less than three years old,” Stimpson said.

Mobile’s bus purchase is one of 70 projects in 39 states that have received part of the FTA grant. The money for the extra buses is included in a program funded by President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure program. As part of this, $5.1 billion in formula and grant funding has been added for a bus and bus facility program over the next five years. The program is administered by the FTA.

The money, according to a press release, is aimed at modernizing American buses and making bus systems and routes more reliable.

“Transit agencies are replacing aging buses and facilities with new, cleaner infrastructure that is more efficient to operate and maintain,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Modern buses, especially those powered by electric batteries or fuel cells, improve air quality and help us tackle the climate crisis.”

Mobile’s new buses will be conventional diesel buses, although some transit agencies across the country plan to use the funding to replace diesel-powered buses.

Some examples:

In Connecticut, the State Department of Transportation received $11.4 to purchase battery electric buses to advance the state’s zero-emission bus deployment program.

In Nevada, nearly $5 million will be spent on purchasing new hydrogen fuel cell buses to replace older diesel buses. Renewable energy lighting will also be installed at bus stops across its network.

Transpo in South Bend, Indiana, will receive $4.3 million to purchase buses that use compressed natural gas to replace diesel-fueled buses.

Capital Transit in Juneau, Alaska is getting $1.4 million to buy charging equipment as it transitions from diesel buses to electric buses.

In St. Louis, the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District Bi-State Development Agency will receive $4.1 million to replace older buses with electric buses.

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Melvin Z. Madore