The Federal Transit Administration is making up to $180 million in competitive grant funds through a notice of funding opportunity for its Low or No Emission or “Low-No” grant program.

[Photo courtesy of New Flyer.]

The FTA said its Low-No program helps eligible project sponsors purchase or lease low- or no-emission vehicles, while also supporting facilities that use advanced technologies to provide cleaner, more energy-efficient transit operations in communities across the country. This year’s NOFO will prioritize applications with an environmental justice component as well as those that will support workforce development activities to help America’s transit workers succeed, the agency said.

“The Biden Administration is committed to investing in clean transportation, and the Low or No Emission Program will put more American-made, energy-efficient buses into service across the country,” noted U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “This is an important step forward in ensuring that communities have access to high-quality, zero-emission transportation options.”

“Through the Low-No grant program, transit operators nationwide have the ability to replace aging buses near the end of their lifecycle with newer, cleaner models that are more efficient to operate and maintain,” added FTA Acting Administrator Nuria Fernandez.

In support of President Biden’s climate crisis executive order issued on January 20, FTA is placing a priority on projects that will help improve air quality in specific “non-attainment areas” around the country.

FTA also said all capital procurements made via these funds must meet its Buy America requirements, which mandate that all iron, steel, and manufactured products be produced in the United States. It also requires that the cost of components and subcomponents of rolling stock produced in the United States must be more than 70 percent of the cost of all components.  Additionally, as part of FTA’s commitment to helping transit professionals keep up-to-date on technological advancements, the agency said Low-No recipients are permitted and encouraged to use up to 0.5 percent of these grant awards for workforce development activities, with an additional 0.5 percent available to cover costs associated with training at the National Transit Institute.