U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) today announced that Connect Transit will receive a $1.45 million to purchase zero-emission battery electric buses and install solar panels at the maintenance facility. This competitive Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant was authorized as part of the FAST Act, the long-term highway bill Congress passed in 2015.
“Investing in our smaller transit systems means investing in jobs and economic growth. Connect Transit and the Bloomington-Normal community is a great example of this partnership," Davis said. "I'm proud to see Connect Transit receive this competitive grant, which allow them to upgrade their fleet and become more efficient. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I will continue to be an advocate for our smaller transit systems that are critical to the communities they serve."
“I am thrilled to announce this grant awarded to Connect Transit for the Bloomington-Normal communities with my friend and colleague Rodney Davis today,” said LaHood. “Innovative technologies like these will continue to help bring Bloomington-Normal’s transit system to the cutting-edge of zero-emission public transportation. I look forward to seeing the direct impact this grant will have on the local community, and will continue working and supporting these kinds of initiatives which provide safe, affordable, reliable, and accessible service to the public.”
“This project represents a strategic investment to help improve energy consumption and strengthen the economy while supporting the deployment of technologically advanced US-made transit buses,” said Isaac Thorne, Interim General Manager, Connect Transit. “The grant award will allow Connect Transit to start converting our aging fleet from diesel to electric battery powered buses as part of our strategic plan to embrace alternative fuel vehicles and reduce emissions. The grant will allow Connect to purchase electric buses, charging stations, and solar infrastructure. We are grateful for both Congressman Davis and LaHood and Senator Durbin and Duckworth support on the grant application. Transit is and should remain a non-partisan issue and we appreciate the support from both sides of the aisle.”
Davis visited Connect Transit last October as part of his 13th District mass transit tour that included stops in Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, and Champaign-Urbana.
The following is text of Davis letter supporting Connect Transit’s grant application:
June 26, 2017
Mr. Matthew Welbes
Federal Transit Administration
US Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Administrator Welbes:
I am proud to support Connect Transit’s application for the Federal Transit Administration’s Fiscal Year 2017 Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle program.
Connect Transit is the primary public transit system servicing the Bloomington-Normal community, and has continuously provided safe, affordable, reliable, and accessible service to a population of over 130,000 residents. This organization continues to invest in innovative technologies and strategies, and its application for this funding furthers this strategy, as it will purchase four electric buses Program to replace diesel buses that have exceeded a useful life of 12 years.
Connect Transit has established strong local public/private partnerships that work seamlessly together to create a community that fosters economic growth and increased quality of life. The award of this funding supports the core objectives of the Low-No Vehicle Program, transitioning Connect Transit’s aging fleet to energy-efficient, low-polluting vehicles.
For these reasons, this Connect Transit application has my full support. Thank you for your consideration.
Member of Congress