Brownley Introduces Bill to Fight Climate Crisis by Helping Localities Convert to Clean Transit Systems, Requiring All New FTA-Funded Buses Be Zero-Emission by 2029

Statement

Date: April 9, 2019
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), a member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, today introduced legislation to take an important step forward in addressing climate change by helping cities and states across the country transition to cleaner public transit systems, including mandating that all new buses purchased with federal funds be zero-emission by 2029. The transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributing 28 percent of the United States' total GHG emissions.

"Fighting climate change will require tackling greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, and one key area where federal policy changes can make an immediate and critical impact is public transit," said Congresswoman Brownley. "Zero emissions by 2029 is an ambitious target, but Congress must take all the steps necessary to ensure our nation builds a 21st Century, clean energy transportation system."

Brownley's home state of California recently passed legislation to require that all new buses be zero-emission beginning in 2029. Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York have also recently announced zero-emission bus plans. The Green Bus Act would bring this policy to the federal level by increasing funding to improve green bus technology and help deploy it nationwide, increasing funding to ensure that transit agencies have the resources necessary to purchase and deploy zero-emission bus fleets, and requiring all buses purchased with federal funds be zero-emission, starting October 1, 2029.

Background

The Green Bus Act would:

-- Increase funds for the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Low or No Emission Vehicle Component Assessment Program from the current $3 million to $5 million annually. This change will help speed the development of even better technology that will enable bus manufacturers to build even better fleets.

-Increase funds for FTA's Transit Cooperative Research Program from the current $5 million to $20 million annually. This change will spur more federal research on ways to reduce emissions and develop and deploy zero-emission technology nationwide.

-Increase funding for FTA bus programs by authorizing $450 million in FY2020 with a $50 million annual increase until reaching $900 million in FY2029, and increase the set-aside for the FTA's low and no emission bus program from $150 million in FY2020 to $600 million in FY2029, also with a $50 million annual increase. These federal investments and steadily increasing set-asides for zero-emission buses will ensure that transit agencies have the resources necessary to purchase and deploy zero-emission bus fleets.

-Require all new buses purchased with FTA funds be zero-emission beginning on October 1, 2029 and give preference under the low and no emission bus program to transit agencies that have completed full fleet transition plans. This requirement will allow a natural phase-out period as older buses are retired, and newer zero-emission buses come on line and help ensure transit agencies effectively manage and plan their zero-emission transition.

-Require DOT to issue a best practices report on zero-emission bus programs to help states and transit operators share lessons learned.


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