The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) will add 10 electric buses to its fleet thanks to nearly $20 million in grants from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program.
The buses, the first in the city to run solely on electric power, will be used for a new route serving Memphis International Airport and southeast Memphis. The grant will also cover the cost of constructing charging stations for the buses.
“This is a huge step for MATA and the city of Memphis,” Gary Rosenfeld, chief operating officer of MATA said. “These buses will be the first in the area to run entirely on electric power which will significantly reduce the transit authority’s carbon footprint, improve air quality, and reduce operating costs.”
MATA will receive $13.9 million over an initial three-year period to fund the project, and then another $6 million over the next three years to fund the operation of the new route.
The timeline for purchasing the buses and exact details for the route have not been finalized, but MATA officials say the route will aim to provide frequent service throughout the day to major employment centers in the area.
“This new CMAQ route will continue to address the need to improve public transportation accessibility to jobs in Memphis and Shelby County which we have been advocating for during the last several months,” Rosenfeld said. “With the addition of electric buses, this will help MATA begin to attain its goal of improving its fleet and service we provide our customers”
CMAQ is a federal program that provides funding to state transportation departments to be used for projects focused on reducing emissions from vehicles and improving air quality.