Metro receives $33.5M in federal funds to buy electric buses

Money to be used for 30 new buses as Metro aims for zero-emission fleet by 2035

King County Metro will receive $33.5 million in federal funding to support the purchase of 30 battery-electric buses.

“This will help us in our goal to be one of the first large transit agencies in North America with a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2035,” according to a June 26 Metro news release.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced 130 awards totaling nearly $1.7 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for transit projects in 46 states and territories. Metro’s award is in the top 10 of the transit systems receiving these grants.

“Our focus is on converting 27 bus routes serving low-income communities and expanding our apprenticeship program, to help promote transit careers in underserved communities,” according to Metro.

“Every day, over 60,000 buses in communities of all sizes take millions of Americans to work, school, and everywhere else they need to go,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Today’s announcement means more clean buses, less pollution, more jobs in manufacturing and maintenance, and better commutes for families across the country.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine said he was grateful to the congressional delegation who helped secure the funding.

“King County Metro already takes hundreds of thousands of cars, and their emissions, off the road every day, and this federal funding moves us closer toward our commitment to convert to an all-electric, zero-emission bus fleet by 2035,” Constantine said. “This funding supports our work to advance equity and social justice by prioritizing service areas for these new electric buses in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by pollution generated by fossil fuels and invests in our future workforce by eliminating barriers to opportunity in transit sector green jobs and apprenticeships programs.”

The projects are supported by FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs. The Buses and Bus Facilities program provides federal funding for transit agencies to buy and rehabilitate buses and vans and build and modernize bus facilities.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly $2 billion through fiscal year 2026 for the program. For fiscal year 2023, approximately $473 million for grants was available under this program.

Al Sanders, of King County Metro, contributed to this article.