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CENTRAL COAST REGION, Calif. – The Federal Transit Authority announced a third round of funding Tuesday for projects to improve public transportation, two of which are right here on the Central Coast.

The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority will receive $2,572,888 to purchase new electric buses and chargers to replace current vehicles as well as expand the current capacity of the transit system to meet ridership demand which has doubled between 2005 and 2019 detailed Senator Alex Padilla’s Office in a press release about the funding announcement.

“The RTA [Regional Transportation Authority] Board of Directors is thrilled that our project was awarded almost $2.6 million in Federal Transit Administration funding. This discretionary funding will partially fund the purchase of four battery-electric buses to replace diesel powered buses that have reached the end of their economically useful lives, along with recharging dispensers. Our transition to zero-emission buses is already underway, and this new funding will allow us to accelerate this transition sooner than we would have been able to otherwise. It will allow us to continue providing great transportation for our communities while also advancing our climate goals in San Luis Obispo County,” detailed Andy Pease, President of the San Luis Obispo RTA Board of Directors and San Luis Obispo City Councilmember.

Senator Padilla’s Office also shared that the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District will receive $2,894,131 to buy battery-electric buses and charges to replace older diesel buses currently in their fleet.

“Putting zero-emission buses on the roads of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo will help keep our air clean, reduce our region’s carbon footprint, and improve public transit reliability by installing new buses to serve Central Coast residents,” explained Congressman Salud Carbajal. “This is just the latest in what has been almost three years worth of investments from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to help pass last term. With nearly $1 billion already delivered for the Central Coast, this law is truly delivering once-in-a-generation investments that are raising the quality of life on the Central Coast.”

Overall, California will receive $233.9 million in grants through the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emissions grant program, which helps transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-made low- or no-emission buses as well as upgrade facilities, and the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities program, which provides federal funds to transit agencies to buy or rehabilitate buses and vans in their fleets, detailed Senator Padilla’s Office.

“For too long, communities along busy transit corridors — especially lower-income communities — have felt the impact of poor air quality,” said Senator Padilla. “This substantial investment in the transition to low- and zero-emission buses will protect public health and promote a cleaner commute for millions of Californians. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is not only building a more sustainable, dependable transportation system, but also building the workforce needed to deploy modern technology.”

Nationwide, Tuesday’s $1.5 billion investment is dedicated to 117 projects in 47 states through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Today, 117 communities, including Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, are receiving the good news that their transit buses are being modernized and their commutes improved through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” stated U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Biden-Harris Administration is helping agencies across 47 states replace old buses running on dirty, expensive fuels by delivering modern and zero-emission buses, manufactured by American workers, that will connect more people to where they need to go.”

For this round of funding, the Federal Transit Administration focused on awards that also strengthen domestic bus manufacturing with 47 of the 117 projects committed to procuring standard model buses or using a joint procurement process shared the Federal Transit Administration is a press release.

According to the Federal Transit Administration, standardizing bus models is intended to shorten manufacturing time and keep costs low.

For more information about investments around the county, visit here.

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