TARC celebrates arrival of first 15 of 47 new buses set to begin service

July 2, 2021
The new, cleaner emission buses were purchased with the help of funds from the VW settlement.

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) celebrated the first 15 of 47 new, cleaner emission buses with those buses leaving Union Station for the first time to begin serving Louisville, Ky., residents. 

“This is an important and needed relief for our bus fleet,” said Carrie Butler, TARC executive director. “These new buses will help the overall air quality of our region, while reducing emissions and improving the reliability of service we provide.” 

In October, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and other state leaders announced $8.5 million in transportation funding to replace about 170 buses–including at least 45 buses from TARC’s fleet–and support other efforts to expand reliable and sustainable transportation in Kentucky. The awards focused on purchasing cleaner emission transit buses in areas of Kentucky challenged with meeting federal air quality standards.

The 47 buses purchased with the help of funds from the VW settlement was originally announced in 2020. Thanks to the work of local and state officials, the $4.7 million allocated from the settlement allowed TARC to meet the local match required to secure a 2019 federal investment of $17.3 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

“While I was attorney general, we held Volkswagen accountable for deceiving Kentucky consumers, and today we’re seeing funds from that settlement improving public transit and air quality in Louisville,” said Gov. Beshear. “I look forward to the time when we have all 47 new cleaner emissions buses in Louisville and 170 across the state, because with investments like these, we are making public transportation healthier and more accessible for our people.”

The buses were unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Speakers at the event included Gov. Beshear, Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, State Rep. Ken Upchurch (R-52), Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and TARC Executive Director Carrie Butler.

 “Transportation plays a role in our environment and its effects on public health. That’s one reason these new, clean-diesel buses are such a great public benefit. Anything we can do to reduce emissions makes for cleaner air and a Better Kentucky,” said Secretary Jim Gray.

“For many people in Louisville, TARC buses are lifelines making it possible for them to conduct the essential business of their lives. These new buses will allow TARC to continue to do the important work for the Louisville region each day in a cleaner and fuel-efficient way,” said Mayor Fischer. “Thank you to everyone at the local, state and federal levels who have shown their support and recognition of this important need. By helping TARC get to this point, you have not only made a significant investment in the largest transit agency in the state of Kentucky, but also in the community it serves.”