Stamford To Receive 20 Battery Electric Buses, Transit Upgrades
Stamford To Receive 20 Battery Electric Buses, Transit Upgrades

Stamford To Receive 20 Battery Electric Buses, Transit Upgrades

STAMFORD, CT — Mayor Caroline Simmons on Friday was joined by CT Department of Transportation Commissioner Garret Eucalitto, Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and members of Stamford’s delegation to Hartford at the CTtransit garage on Elm Court to tout a substantial federal grant the city will receive to purchase 20 battery electric buses and implement transit facility infrastructure upgrades.

Stamford will receive $26.4 million to purchase the buses and outfit the transit garage in Stamford with the necessary charging equipment and infrastructure, which will make Stamford the first division in the state 100 percent ready for electric buses, according to Eucalitto.

The buses are expected to be in service by 2025.

Find out what's happening in Stamfordwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The grant is being awarded through the competitive Low or No Emission Grant Program, which provides funding to purchase zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, as well as upgrades to support facilities.

As a result of the bipartisan infrastructure law, $5.5 billion in grant funding is available nationwide, which is six times greater than in the previous five years.

Find out what's happening in Stamfordwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Both Lamont and Blumenthal said the grant and Stamford’s move towards electric buses is an example for the rest of the state and the country.

“People love Stamford. This is a city that works, this is a city that’s getting it right. You see that reflected in the number of people that want to be here, the number of people taking the train here,” Lamont said. “We have more people taking the bus here in Stamford today than we did pre-COVID. That’s more people moving around, more people moving in this city going forward, and that’s part of a city that works together.”

Lamont has a goal of converting the statewide public transportation bus fleet from diesel to zero-emission models by 2035, which he directed CTDOT to complete through Executive Order No. 21-3.

Annually, the CTtransit Stamford Division provides approximately 3.5 million passenger trips, representing roughly 10 percent of all bus trips in Connecticut, officials said Friday.

Blumenthal said diesel is “abhorrent, not only in smell and taste, but it is desperately unhealthy.” He noted that the Low or No Emission Grant Program not only serves the environment, it also serves the health of residents and provides environmental justice.

“Let’s be very blunt — the people who are stuck behind those buses are more likely to be people of low income in neighborhoods where buses are relied on as a primary means of transportation,” Blumenthal said. “These 20 buses are going to be profoundly impactful not only in the 3.5 million rides people make on Stamford buses every year, but also as an example for the rest of the state and the rest of the country because these buses — electrified, no or low emissions — are our future.”

Simmons highlighted an executive order she recently signed that addresses climate change and sustainability in Stamford.

Two key actions being taken under the order are to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory city-wide, which was recently completed, and to develop a green fleet plan to electrify the city’s municipal fleet.

“This is so important because we know the transportation sector in CT is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from our transportation sector,” Simmons said. “Electrifying buses and our municipal fleet will help us reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment for future generations. We also know that electrifying vehicles will benefit air quality, improve health outcomes and will save on maintenance and gas costs. This is a win-win all around.”

Eucalitto echoed Simmons’ comments.

“By moving to this no-emission, electric bus fleet in Stamford, we’re going to help improve the quality of life for everyone here in the Stamford region. In Stamford, the bus system is a critical link for everyone who lives here. It’s critical for employment, it’s critical for education, it’s critical for quality of life,” he said.

Electric vehicles, like Teslas, have made headlines recently for dangerous fires.

Last July, an electric CTtransit bus in Hamden burst into flames and was destroyed. CTtransit took all remaining New Flyer battery electric transit buses out of service as a precaution, and an investigation was launched.

On Friday in Stamford, Public Transportation Bureau Chief Ben Limmer said the state is “working feverishly” to bring the buses back into service in the coming weeks.

“We’re looking to bring those back by the end of the summer,” Limmer said.

After the fire, the bus manufacturer placed other similar buses across the country out of service, and they conducted reviews, testing and made necessary upgrades, Limmer noted.

“We’re very comfortable with the fix to that model,” Eucalitto mentioned, adding that of the 20 buses Stamford will receive, 15 will be New Flyers.

Click Here: cheap vans era shoes

Friday’s news conference also featured comments from state Sen. Ceci Maher D-26); and state Reps. Matt Blumenthal (D-147) and Rachel Khanna (D-149).

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.