The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently secured a $3.4 million federal grant for six electric buses. The new buses will replace six conventional gas-powered buses at the following rural transit systems in Greater Minnesota:
- Heartland Express/Brown County Human Services (New Ulm service, two buses)
- SMART/Cedar Valley Services, Inc. (Owatonna service, one bus)
- Prairie Lakes Transit/Faribault-Martin County Transit Board (Fairmont service, one bus)
- Minnesota River Valley Transit (St. Peter and Le Sueur service, two buses)
The funds come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $5.5 billion over five years for “Low or No Emission Vehicle Program.”
The six buses being replaced travel approximately 173,300 miles and consume 30,500 gallons of fuel each year.
“Deploying battery electric buses in place of fossil fuel vehicles will reduce energy consumption and harmful emissions, including greenhouse gases and particulates,” said Amber Dallman, MnDOT’s Transit Programs and Implementation assistant director. “Public transit is an important part of our transportation system. Many people in rural areas rely on transit to access jobs, shopping and healthcare. This project helps us make service improvements while working to reduce emissions.”
The grant funding, along with a $425,196 local match from MnDOT, also covers charging equipment, tools, related infrastructure, training and administrative support. Agencies receiving a second bus are responsible for the local match for the second vehicle ($45,402 each).
MnDOT oversees public transit grant programs for Greater Minnesota, including bus replacements. Rural transit systems partnered with MnDOT to submit the application for the competitive funds.
Planning for the projects will start later this year. Infrastructure for the buses should be in place by September 2024, with buses on the road by September 2025.