By way of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the City of Norman has received one of only 150 grants awarded across the country and U.S. territories by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. Grant dollars, in the amount of $894,963, will be used to purchase compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to replace buses that have exceeded their useful life.
“We are fortunate to have dedicated staff that actively pursue grant funding for vital projects and services in our community,” said Taylor Johnson, Transit and Parking Program Manager. “Our transit program has a track record of applying for and successfully being awarded funds from such competitive grants. Although 150 grants have been awarded, the FTA received requests for funding for more than 500 eligible projects during this process. We appreciate the support of the City Council and City leadership in allowing us to pursue these types of opportunities.”
Awarded funding to the City of Norman will cover approximately 80 percent of the purchase of two 35-foot CNG buses, Johnson said, which will benefit the community by increasing reliability of service, improving air quality, and creating foreseeable cost-saving measures with a decrease in the need for costly repairs. Additionally, continuing the expansion of CNG-fueled equipment equates to major cost-savings annually for the City of Norman; more than 150 CNG vehicles is estimated to save taxpayers more than $500,000 this fiscal year.
Fixed route service of EMBARK Norman sees an average of 875 passengers per weekday and 401 passengers per Saturday; paratransit services sees an average of 81 passengers per weekday and 18 passengers per Saturday.
An overall $1.66 billion to invest in bus fleets and facilities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was announced August 16, with the majority of funding going toward zero-emissions technology and projects that reduce air pollution. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.5 billion over five years for a Low- and No-Emission Program.