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Phoenix will use $16.3 million grant for greener buses, workforce program

Phoenix will get more than $16 million for greener buses through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) under a Federal Transit Administration grant program. The program is meant to transition the nation’s transit fleets to more energy-efficient and cleaner vehicles. 

FTA Regional Administrator Ray Tellis said Phoenix will buy 12 hydrogen fuel cell buses and 6 battery electric buses.

"They are testing the technology that is available here ahead of us for electrification and that will allow them to choose the right kind of technology or operate a multi-faceted fleet,” he said while visiting City Hall on Monday.

Mayor Kate Gallego said many other cities will benefit from observing low and no emissions buses in Phoenix. 

“We are a very long city so we have bus routes that are longer than many of our peer communities,” she said. “If buses succeed with 500 square miles and temperatures that can reach 120 degrees, that is quality testing and the whole country can benefit from what we find out here.”

The first buses are expected to hit the roads in 2024. A Phoenix spokesperson told KJZZ News that the transit department is, "working on solicitations with bus vendors that will determine the final mix of buses and infrastructure to support them."

Phoenix's current fleet of 500 heavy-duty buses run on alternative fuels, including natural gas and biodiesel.

“I, like many in my community, struggle with asthma,” said Councilwoman Betty Guardado, who represents west Phoenix. “With some of the highest rates in the Valley, we know how important it is to be looking at every opportunity possible to reverse these trends.”

The grant will also support a workforce development program to train current bus drivers, mechanics and others on the latest technology. 

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.