Kentucky awards funds to four transit agencies to purchase cleaner emission buses

Oct. 14, 2020
Approximately 58 buses will be replaced at four transit agencies with a mix of new diesel, natural gas and battery-electric vehicles.

Kentucky has awarded $8.5 million under its Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to four transit agencies to replace aging buses with cleaner emission vehicles. Gov. Andy Behsear said the new vehicles will support the commonwealth’s efforts to expand reliable and sustainable transportation.

“This funding will reduce pollution to create cleaner air and improve transportation options in four regions of the commonwealth,” said Gov. Behsear.

The 2020 General Assembly developed and approved a spending plan for the VW funds in July 2020. In total, the funds will help pay to replace approximately 170 buses in both transit and school fleets. The funding will go toward the purchase of 58 cleaner emission transit buses in areas of Kentucky challenged with meeting federal air quality standards.

Transit awards are as follows:

  • Transit Authority of River City (TARC) in Jefferson County will receive $4.7 million to replace 45 older buses with cleaner, more fuel-efficient buses.
  • Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) will receive $2.1 million to replace six older diesel buses with new diesel buses.
  • Lextran, in Lexington, will receive $1.5 million to replace six older diesel buses with four new natural gas and two all-electric buses.
  • Owensboro Transit System will receive $156,403 to replace one older bus with a new all-electric bus.

Both TARC and TANK operate in ozone nonattainment areas, areas considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Lextran and the Owensboro Transit System operate in areas that have not met designated ozone quality standards in the past.

The trust allows transit buses to be reimbursed for up to 80 percent of the cost of replacement or repowering of the vehicle.

“The use of $8.5 million of the settlement for the purchase of cleaner-emission transit buses serves our public in two ways. Reduced emissions mean improved air quality, which is a health benefit for everyone. And the upgrading of transit vehicles means better service to our fellow Kentuckians who rely on public transportation for getting to work, school, doctor appointments, shopping and other places they have to go in the course of their daily lives,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray.

In addition to cleaner buses for schools and transit agencies, Kentucky has allocated $3 million of the settlement funds toward zero-emission light-duty vehicle equipment to be installed along selected highways.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.