The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration on Friday recognized the Antelope Valley Transit Authority and nine other transit agencies for exemplary efforts in combating climate change.
“By helping people efficiently and affordably get where they need to go, public transit plays a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re delighted to honor these 10 public transit agencies leading the charge to protect our communities against climate change.”
Created in June 2021 to help advance President Joe Biden’s ambitious greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction goals, the FTA’s Climate Challenge calls on transit agencies to develop strategies to reduce emissions, such as converting fleets to electric buses, making facilities more energy efficient, and generating power through renewable energy sources. A total of 171 transit agencies from Maine to Hawaii signed on to participate in the FTA Climate Challenge. Throughout the year, the FTA helped participants advance their goals with technical resources, targeted listening sessions, and peer exchanges.
The FTA presented it Climate Challenge awards on Friday, April 22, during the 52nd celebration of Earth Day. AVTA won the award for “Most Accomplished” for meeting its 100 percent electric fleet goal and becoming the first transit agency in North America to be all-electric. AVTA reported a savings of $2.3 million after converting its bus fleet to all electric, largely thanks to saving 1,750,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the FTA.
Other awardees included:
- Most Ambitious: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority set a goal that exceeded the President’s goals of a 50% reduction in GHG emissions.
- Most Collaborative: Iowa City Transit successfully leveraged state, local and private partnerships to advance its climate action strategies.
- Most Equitable: King County Metro in Seattle, Wash. developed a plan focused on addressing climate change impacts and transportation access in underserved communities.
- Most Innovative: Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit in Urbana, Ill., demonstrated the use of creative solutions to implement its climate action strategy.
- Most Transformative: Sound Transit in Seattle, Wash., developed a plan demonstrating sustainability throughout the agency, including fleets, facilities and operations.
- First to the Finish: Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County in Houston, Tex., was the first to submit its new climate action plan, delivered on February 4, 2022.
- Champions of the Challenge: This award was bestowed on small, medium, and large transit agencies that developed plans that include achievable, ambitious strategies for reaching their GHG emission reduction goals:
- Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, Texas (large).
- Central Ohio Transit Authority, Columbus, Ohio (medium).
- Rockford Mass Transit District, Rockford, Ill. (small).
The FTA on Friday also launched phase two of its Climate Challenge, which seeks to increase participation and focuses on electrification or zero-emission transition plans to achieve the President’s GHG emissions goals. More information about phase two can be found here.
The FTA and the Federal Highway Administration also launched a joint Flexible Funding website to encourage communities to use flex funding for projects that promote safer routes to transit. This support for bicycle lanes, better pedestrian walkways, trails, lighting, and other projects enhances safety and access to transit stations and bus stops, reducing vehicle trips and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, according to the FTA.
[Information via news release from the Federal Transit Administration.]