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Recovery Act transit grants support "green" technologies and jobs in Michigan
September 24, 2009 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) this week awarded $4.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds to the Flint Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) and Thunder Bay Transportation Authority (TBTA) in Alpena to purchase energy efficient mass transit vehicles. The funds are part of the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) discretionary grant program.
Two Michigan-based "green" technology companies also will benefit from the DOT grant awards: Fisher Coachworks in Troy will manufacture the all-electric buses to be purchased by the Flint MTA and Azure Dynamics in Oak Park will produce the hybrid system used in 31 paratransit buses purchased with Recovery Act funds by transit agencies in Illinois.
"The TIGGER grants highlight Michigan's emerging role as a leader in the design, manufacture and deployment of 'green' vehicle technologies," said Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. "Funds from the Recovery Act continue to support our goal to build a new energy economy for Michigan and create jobs in this high-growth sector for our workers."
The Flint MTA will use the $2.2 million grant to purchase two ultra-light, zero emission, all-electric buses from Fisher Coachworks that will replace aging diesel buses. The new buses will more than triple the equivalent fuel economy in an all-electric mode, and reduce CO2 emissions due to the use of lightweight materials and the large capacity battery system.
"This is another giant step to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels," said Bob Foy, Flint MTA, manager. "The electric technology and 30 percent lighter chassis will mean a cleaner, quieter vehicle that generates zero emissions. The Fisher coach chassis and engine is manufactured in Michigan, creating jobs for Michigan workers. Great for the environment, great for our commuters... and we're generating jobs at the same time."
TBTA received $2.6 million to purchase four plug-in hybrid buses that will replace four diesel buses currently in its fleet. TBTA will operate the buses in rural communities, collecting data over the next two years to support the development of a fixed route service with stops.
"The new hybrid buses will be a win/win for the rural counties we serve, and the lessons we learn will have nationwide application," said Ron Prell, TBTA, manager. "The buses are environmentally-friendly and quiet. The hybrid bus has lower maintenance and fuel costs, which means less dependence on foreign oil."
The winning proposals were submitted by transit agencies from across the country as part of a nationwide competition for $100 million in Recovery Act funds. The Federal Transit Administration reviewed more than $2 billion in applications for these funds.
MDOT: Working with our partners at airports, bus systems, marine and rail to find innovative solutions for Michigan's transportation systems.