LOS ANGELES – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Metrolink and Metro and were among the recipients of $224 million in California State Transportation Agency grants aimed at bolstering public transit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, authorities announced.
AVTA was awarded $24.4 million to develop a Bus Rapid Transit route in Lancaster and Palmdale, including the purchase of 29 electric buses. A major portion of the funding will be used to procure 13 60-foot, articulated electric buses for the Local Transit Service and 16 electric coaches for the Commuter Service. AVTA’s project, at a total cost of $40 million, includes $15 million in matching funds.
The transit system intends to use the 13 articulated electric buses on its Route 1 in preparation for future Bus Rapid Transit service along the busy corridor, which connects Lancaster to Palmdale. The plan is to increase the route’s frequency to 15 minutes, enabling passengers to connect more quickly with other routes and decrease travel times.
The project also calls for 16 electric commuter coaches which will provide service to routes reaching the San Fernando Valley and Downtown Los Angeles.
“We are excited to have been able to help AVTA bring this project forward so that decision makers in Sacramento would not overlook our small transit agency, but rather would see the vision it has been working so hard to realize,” stated Assemblyman Tom Lackey. “AVTA is on the cutting edge of new technology and its ground breaking efforts will translate into improved transit service, cleaner air and more jobs for Antelope Valley residents.”
Charging infrastructure is another component of the project, which will include hard wire stations for up to 80 buses, along with four wireless charging stations at a cost of approximately $11 million. The wireless charging stations will be located at AVTA’s two main transfer centers and at two additional locations that have yet to be determined.
AVTA’s project also identifies $1.4 million for research and development of a more powerful wireless charging system. The project will be funded over a three-year period, with the first electric buses slated to arrive by the summer of 2016.
A total of 14 grants were awarded to agencies across the state.
Metrolink received $41.2 million to replace seven locomotives and purchase two more to increase service on the Antelope Valley and Ventura County lines. And Metro was awarded $38.5 million for improvements to the Willowbrook rail station to improve connections between the Blue and Green lines and buses and improve station access.
“When public transportation is efficient, affordable and enjoyable more Californians use it and that improves quality of life for everyone,” stated Brian Kelly, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency. “These grants help support nearly $720 million in transportation investments in clean, affordable and low-stress commuting and traveling options by improving the quality and reliability of public transportation choices.”
Note: Story updated to include more information from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.