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Rock Region Metro Receives Grant For Battery-Electric Buses

Rock Region Metro transit buses CAT central arkansas transit
David Monteith

Rock Region Metro is on track to become the first zero-emission public transit agency in the state thanks to a new grant from the federal government.

The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $4.9 million for the agency to purchase up to five 40-foot battery-powered electric buses.

Rock Region Metro spokesperson Becca Green says the grant money will help the agency reach its goal of having a zero carbon emission bus fleet earlier than their planned date of 2025.

"So when we created our phaseout plan for the diesel-powered buses, we weren’t exactly anticipating any extra funds on top of that in order to complete that phase, so this puts us ahead of schedule," Green said.

Green says the funding will also help pay for new charging infrastructure for the buses. She says the buses will join the agency’s existing fleet of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

"The plan is to work through the rest of the fleet and be able to eventually transition to the greenest, most sustainable energy source we can have, which is probably battery-electric buses," Green said. "Of course these are our first buses that are battery-electric buses in the fleet, so I’m sure we’ll have some sort of a learning curve, but it’s very exciting to be able to do this."

The new buses, build by California-based Proterra, will have a range of 345 miles and are expected to be in service by 2023.

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