Government

Iowa City awarded $3 million grant for new electric buses

An Iowa City Transit bus sits at a stop on Washington Street in Iowa City on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (The Gazette)
An Iowa City Transit bus sits at a stop on Washington Street in Iowa City on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (The Gazette)

Iowa City is a step closer to replacing a few of its diesel buses with new electric buses.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Iowa City a grant of $3 million, which the city announced Wednesday it would use to invest in new electric buses and supporting infrastructure. Associate Director of Tranportation Mark Rummel said the timeline for when Iowa City residents would see an electric bus on the road was a little uncertain. Production schedule is about one year from the date an order is placed, Rummel said, though the timeline will likely be extended due to the effects of COVID-19. Once in place, Rummel said the buses will be charged using energy generated from MidAmerican wind turbine farms.

The electric buses fit into the city’s Climate Action Plan, the final goal of which is to hit net-zero emissions by 2050. In order to hit that target, the plan details a goal to replace 55 percent of vehicle trips with sustainable transportation options — such as public transportation, biking, or walking. The plan also aims to convert half of its municipal vehicle fleet to cleaner fuel vehicles.

The grant is one of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 41 projects that have doled out $130 million as part of its Low- or No-emmission Grant Program. This is the first one the City of Iowa City has received.

Comments: (319) 398-8370; sarah.watson@thegazette.com

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