The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $3 million to VIA Metropolitan Transit to purchase vehicles for its bus rapid transit line, also known as VIA Prímo.
VIA was awarded the $3 million under the Clean Fuels Program to purchase 60-foot articulated buses that run on compressed natural gas, or CNG. These three buses will be part of the 19-vehicle fleet for the VIA Prímo line.
"This investment in natural gas buses is a victory not just for the people of San Antonio who depend on public transportation to get to their jobs, school and medical appointments, but also for America's energy policy and the local energy economy of South Texas," said Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, who was instrumental in helping secure the grant. "This natural gas addition to VIA's public transportation fleet will allow them to more fully serve the needs of our great city."
In May 2010 VIA introduced the first CNG buses to San Antonio to help reduce air pollution in the downtown area while also highlighting the agency's commitment to alternative power sources. The entire VIA Prímo fleet will be powered by compressed natural gas.
"We are grateful to the FTA for making this grant available to us," said VIA President/CEO Keith T. Parker. "These new vehicles will help us realize the VIA Prímo project as well as promote sustainability throughout the region. Together with the hybrid buses already in service on our express routes and the all-electric buses we have on order, the CNG buses will reaffirm VIA's commitment to cleaner air and a healthy environment."
VIA Prímo is a bus rapid transit line that is being built for the Fredericksburg Road corridor, marking VIA's first steps toward becoming a multimodal transit agency. Construction has begun on the facilities to support VIA Prímo, with service slated to begin late 2012.