JTA will use $11.9M federal grant to buy 8 new cleaner energy buses

8 diesel buses will be replaced with 8 compressed natural gas buses, agency says

New compressed natural gas JTA buses on the yard in October 2018. (Jeffrey Leeser, © 2018 Jacksonville Transportation Authority)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will use an $11.9 million grant from the federal government to take eight diesel buses out of service and replace them with eight compressed natural gas buses.

The eight diesel buses have all maxed out the useful life standards from the Federal Transit Administration.

Replacing them with cleaner CNG powered buses is part of the JTA’s mission of sustainability. JTA spokesman David Cawton said all buses purchased by JTA since 2015 have been CNG buses. The eight new CNG buses will make a total of 96 CNG buses in JTA’s fleet of 220 buses total.

“Our congressional delegation fought hard on behalf of the JTA in seeking this grant funding,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “Thank you to Congressman John Rutherford, Congressman Al Lawson, FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for your continued investment in Jacksonville and the JTA.”

FTA said 282 applications were made across the country totaling $1.8 billion in funding requests.

The money comes from the FTA’s bus and bus facilities grant program, which supports projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment, as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, and construct bus-related facilities.

The JTA funds will also be used to complete several other “state of good repair” projects at the Myrtle Avenue Operations Campus, a JTA spokesman said.

Those projects include the replacement of mobile column lifts for bus repairs; the replacement and upgrade of 21 bay doors from manual to electric; the rehabilitation of the bus wash facilities, including upgrades for waste, oil and plumbing systems; and the replacement of exhaust fans, generators, HVAC and other maintenance and facilities needs.

Four other projects in Florida also received funds from the bus and bus facilities grant program:

  • The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which operates LYNX in Orlando, Florida will receive $2.8 million to purchase new electric buses to replace older diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life. The replacement vehicles will improve safety and support LYNX’s state of good repair needs.
  • The County of Collier (Collier Area Transit) will receive $9 million to purchase new buses and to rehabilitate its existing operations and maintenance building. This project will improve safety and state of good repair for facilities that were originally built in the 1980′s.
  • The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will receive $2.8 million to purchase new electric buses and charging infrastructure. This project will allow HART to improve access, mobility and service reliability for residents of Tampa and Hillsborough County.
  • The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), in Pinellas County, Florida, will receive $1.2 million to purchase new electric buses and a new depot charging station. This project will allow PSTA to continue its electric bus expansion program while improving safety, reliability and a state of good repair.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.