Birmingham Transit (BJCTA) awarded $1.5 million from US Department of Transportation to buy electric buses

Bham Now BJCTA
Bham Now BJCTA
Photo courtesy of BJCTA

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Authority has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit to put low-emission and no-emission electric buses on city streets.

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Riders on a MAX bus. Photo via Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority

Birmingham was awarded 85 percent of the funds to purchase electric buses and charging stations. Fifty-two grants were given to 41 states to replace or purchase electric buses.  In the grant application, Birmingham had to demonstrate how electric buses would lower carbon emissions.

“FTA is proud to partner with transit providers across the country to support their transit priorities. The participation from our local partners shows a dedication to improving access to jobs and opportunities,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.

Why Electric Buses?
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A new, electric bus for Birmingham. Photo via Green Biz

Exhaust from diesel-powered buses is a potential health risk, especially in densely-populated cities where there are continuous routes exposing riders to  bus exhaust emissions. According to a recent study by the consumer research group MASSPIRG electric-powered buses will  improve the air we breathe because there are little to no emissions from these buses. Electric buses are a welcome alternative to diesel-powered buses for people who suffer from asthma, breathing or other respiratory problems. 

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A MAX transit bus headed to Birmingham’s Inglenook neighborhood. Photo via BJCTA

Upfront costs for electric buses are more than traditional gas powered buses, but the study cites that electric buses will pay for themselves after factoring in cost savings on fuel and maintenance. 

“Communities across America will benefit from these investments in their transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chaos

What are your thoughts about public transit in Birmingham? Do you use it? Will you use it in the future? Electric buses and charging station seem like a good idea to you?