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Posted on: August 18, 2022

MET Transit awarded $3.8 million for electric buses

Elec Bus

The Federal Transit Administration announced the City of Billings Metropolitan Transit System will be awarded $3,880,316 in competitive grant funds. 

The money will go toward the purchase of four (4) electric buses which will replace four (4) older diesel buses that have reached end of life. The grant also includes updates to the MET facility to support electric bus charging as well as funds for training of transit staff in operation and maintenance of electric vehicles. 

"This is a very exciting development for MET Transit and the City of Billings.  MET has been making strides in recent years on improving transit service and the customer experience, while setting the stage to eventually transition to green technology, as we will do with these grant funds,” said Transit Manager Rusty Logan.

"Additionally, the grant includes funding focused on training for our workforce, so MET's staff will be able to adapt to the various aspects of using electric buses while still being able to rely on the more familiar diesel technology while we transition,” said Logan. 

The funding comes as MET Transit is finalizing future service improvements to meet the needs of the growing population in Billings with the final plan recommendations being presented to the public at the Billings Library at 5:30 PM on Aug 18.

“The proposed service changes will not only make the system operate more frequently but will expand overall usability of the system.  When considered with the addition of electric buses, Billings will have expanded options in making climate friendly transportation choices. More people being able to use the system means less cars on the road, which means less pollution overall.  Add in electric buses and you’ve got an even more climate friendly option.” Logan said. 

Gillig American BuiltThe electric buses manufactured by Gillig, will be 35-feet long and have the signature
green and blue City of Billings MET Transit wrap. 

The competitive grant program is funded under the FTA’s Low-No Bus and Bus Facilities Program. Transit agencies throughout the nation are eligible to apply for funds and must provide written justification and supporting documentation for the proposed projects. Available funding for transit was expanded significantly in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which provides for over $5.5 billion specifically for low and no emission bus projects over a 5 year period.

MET Transit’s application was one of 150 projects selected for funding out of a total of 530 applications submitted. All projects funded across the nation totaled $1.66 billion and includes projects that will put over 1,100 electric buses into service. 

Previous competitive grants have allowed MET Transit to establish a much more reliable fleet in recent years. MET Transit previously received competitive funding through the Bus and Bus Facilities Program in 2018, 2019, and 2021. This funding was used to replace buses, upgrade technology and maintenance equipment, and make improvements to the MET Transit facilities. Since 2018, MET has successfully applied for and received over $9 million in federal competitive grant funding for capital projects. 

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