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DDOT and SMART awarded $2.6 million in federal grants for electric buses

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The Southeast Michigan transit agencies will buy six buses and build charging infrastructure


The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) were just awarded $2.6 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation for no emission bus technology. The Federal Transit Administration grants were part of its Low- or No Emission program and will enable the Southeast Michigan transit agencies to purchase six electric buses and build charging infrastructure.

The buses will be purchased from Proterra, a California-based electric bus manufacturer, and DTE Energy will support building the charging infrastructure. The buses will replace some older, diesel buses that the agencies have been using. They’re expected to be deployed in 2021.

DDOT has also been updating its fleet in recent years with newer buses equipped with Wi-Fi.

“The all-electric bus project is a big step into the future for transit in southeast Michigan,” said John C. Hertel, General Manager of SMART, in a release.

This is part of several recent collaborative efforts between DDOT and SMART, including implementation of the unified payment system DART. Merging the various transit systems is an essential component of the Regional Transit Authority’s plan which is currently undergoing revision.

It’s also part of a bevy of sustainable efforts being undertaken by the city, which recently released its Sustainable Action Agenda. Detroit City Council also passed an ordinance this week that calls for the total elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from city sources by 2050.