The county’s Department of Transportation has won a grant of nearly $15 million from the Federal Transit Administration, officials announced.
The grant will be used to pay 57% of a $28.6 million dollar project to buy 13 new hydrogen fuel cell buses and build a green hydrogen fueling site at the David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance Transit Operations Center in Gaithersburg.
The new buses will be part of the Ride On fleet and replace 13 buses that are diesel fueled, officials said.
“This is the first project of its kind on the East Coast and drives forward several of our priorities, including converting our bus fleets to clean energy, reducing harmful emissions and improving our transit system—all in alignment with our ambitious climate goals,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a press release.
The county intends to produce hydrogen onsite using zero-emission electrolysis, avoiding byproducts of traditional fossil fuel-based hydrogen production. The zero-emission buses use hydrogen to power electric motors and emit only water from their tailpipes.
The award comes from the FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program. They are the first of the department’s competitive grant selections under the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was enacted in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The FTA received 530 eligible proposals with a total of approximately $7.72 billion in requests.
The DOT currently operates four electric buses and is planning to replace 10 diesel buses with 10 electric ones later this year.
Photo: © scharfsinn86 – stock.adobe.com
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