The St. Clair County Transit District was recently awarded a $1.2 Million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant award by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments for 6 Battery Electric Buses for ATS. SCCTD will provide the 2o percent local match of $300,000.
This grant comes on top of two other grants including last year’s ReBuild Illinois III grant of $10,825,000 for electrification of the fleet. SCCTD has been able to secure $13,155,000 in total for conversion to electric.
Reducing emissions from driving is one of the most direct ways to impact the air quality in the St. Louis Region. According to the EPA, emissions from transportation accounted for approximately 29% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second largest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. The greenhouse gases generated by automobiles contributes to the poor air quality in St. Louis leading to increased cases of asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases.
Each year Illinois and St. Clair County invest millions of dollars in operating the MetroLink, connecting MetroBus system, microtransit, ATS and the connecting MetroBikeLink system. In addition, St. Clair County Transit District is under construction on a light rail extension to MidAmerica Airport. All of these transit options have a direct impact on the environment as residents move from single occupancy vehicles to transit. However, SCCTD has an opportunity now to impact climate change even more through a conversion of its ATS fleet.
A complete analysis of the MetroBus system in St Clair County took place between June 2019 and February 2020. Since that time SCCTD has successfully launched four microtransit pilot areas to better serve the changing needs of the community. Several of these microtransit options are delivered by the ATS fleet. As ridership continues to grow on the microtransit side in St. Clair County, the shift from diesel powered vehicles to electric will have a significant impact on the environment.
A previous grant has laid the groundwork for the expansion of the fleet. This grant will include acquisition of six vehicles to continue the fleet conversion at an estimated $250,000 per vehicle.
“SCCTD is committed to ensuring transit is a viable option in St. Clair County. This conversion to electric will allow the agency to have a larger impact on climate change than currently with the diesel-powered vehicles,” said Ken Sharkey, Managing Director of St. Clair County Transit District.