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PSTA to use $18M award to add electric buses

Veronica Brezina

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One of Gillig's electric buses that is parked at the PSTA HQ. Photo by Veronica Brezina.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is one step closer to its goal of having an all-electric bus fleet thanks to a new $18 million award. 

PSTA was awarded $18 million by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as part of the government’s settlement with Volkswagen (VW) over claims the company violated the Clean Air Act, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday.

Through the Volkswagen settlement, the DEP is awarding more than $68 million that will secure 227 electric transit buses in 13 counties statewide. 

The money earmarked for PSTA is the second largest amount given to a transit agency in Florida and will be used to purchase electric buses.

“We are committed to clean energy, and electric buses also cost less to run and are easier to maintain. Within the next decade, we hope to eliminate all diesel buses from our fleet,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said in PSTA’s announcement, thanking the state for recognizing PSTA’s efforts. 

PSTA operates six all-electric buses and 88 hybrid buses today, which represent more than half of the bus fleet. PSTA will use the $18 million towards purchasing 60 all-electric buses over the next five years through Gillig.

“I thank DEP for contributing to our efforts to move toward an all-electric fleet as soon as possible,’’ PSTA board chair and Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard said. “This money will help us achieve our goal faster, and it reaffirms PSTA is on the right path with its unwavering commitment to clean energy and sustainability.’’

Additionally, the University of South Florida was awarded $600,000 and Pasco County Public Transportation was also awarded $600,000. 

The grant for PSTA is one of several recent achievements and funding boosts for the organization that is striving to deliver more innovative transit solutions. 

PSTA was recently awarded $20 million in federal grants for the construction of a new Clearwater Transit Center. The funds are part of the Rebuilding America Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program. 

Earlier this year, PSTA was also awarded an $18.4 million grant to purchase new electric buses through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration and President Joe Biden. The grant “awarded $409.3 million in grants to 70 projects in 39 states to modernize and electrify America’s buses, make bus systems and routes more reliable, and improve their safety.” 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Donna Kostreva

    September 1, 2022at3:58 pm

    Electric vehicles are a farce! Where do you think the energy comes from for charging? Fossil fuels !!

    The rare earth minerals used to make the batteries are not made in USA product. We have about 5% of selected minerals. Communist China has access to 95%. These rare earth minerals, aptly named, are mined in Africa and China, Bolivia, Chile,Afghanistan (the Saudi Arabia of Lithium) . China owns most of the mines in Africa.

    Wake up America ! Wake up !

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