The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $24.9 million of Fiscal Year 2013 funds (FTA-2014-001-TRI) for the deployment of low- or no-emission (LoNo) transit buses. Of that amount, $21.6 million is available for buses and $3.3 million is available for supporting facilities and related equipment.
The LoNo Program provides funding for transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities.
The FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program was established under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and builds on the success of FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, which invested in the research, development and testing of alternative fuels and related equipment, such as electric charging stations, for the transit industry. This program successfully committed $90 million over seven years for research, demonstration, and deployment projects to reduce the cost of fuel cells for transit use. The program received its final funding in FY2013.
The main purpose of the LoNo Program is to deploy the cleanest and most energy efficient US-made transit buses that have been largely proven in testing and demonstrations but are not yet widely deployed in transit fleets.
The program gives priority consideration to the deployment of buses with the lowest energy consumption and least harmful emissions, including direct carbon emissions. The proposer must provide at least 15% of the cost of all transit bus acquisitions and 10% of the cost for all related equipment and facilities.
Proposals should result in the deployment of at least five new transit buses per location; the buses must be largely identical. In order to maximize LoNo Program impact, FTA seeks to build on existing transit bus procurements, where possible. The LoNo Program strongly encourages proposals that leverage other funds such that LoNo Program funds are used to cover only the incremental cost of procuring the proposed transit bus model above that of a more conventional higher-emission transit bus.
Transit buses proposed for deployment under the LoNo Program must complete current FTA bus testing for production transit buses. The LoNo Program is not a platform for the development of prototypes, FTA cautions.
An Eligible Area for the awards is either:
Designated as a non-attainment area for ozone or carbon monoxide under section 107(d) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7407(d)); or
A maintenance area, as defined in section 5303, for ozone or carbon monoxide.
The following projects are eligible for funding:
Acquiring or leasing low- or no-emission transit buses;
Constructing or leasing facilities and related equipment for low or no emission transit buses;
Constructing new public transportation facilities to accommodate low or no emission transit buses; or,
Rehabilitating or improving existing public transportation facilities to accommodate low or no emission transit buses.
Eligible vehicles must be production transit buses used to provide public transportation and meet the definition of either a zero-emission bus, or a low emission bus:
A zero-emission bus is a bus that produces no direct carbon emissions and no particulate matter emissions under any and all possible operational modes and conditions. A hydrogen fuel-cell bus qualifies as a zero-emission bus. A battery-electric bus qualifies as a zero-emission transit bus. A zero-emission bus and a no-emission bus are the same.
A low-emission bus is defined as any transit bus that is powered by an engine that produces lower non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) than are legally permitted under EPA’s engine standards at 49 CFR part 86.