FTA recognizes four transit agencies with climate challenge awards

April 21, 2023
New York MTA, CTA, Everett Transit and MVTA earned the honors by participating in the FTA’s challenge that developed strategies to reduce emissions.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is recognizing four transit agencies – Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Everett Transit - for their work to reduce emissions and answering FTA’s Transit for a Healthy Planet initiative call that was created in June 2021. The challenge tasked agencies with the development of strategies to reduce emissions, such as converting fleets to electric buses, making facilities more energy efficient and generating power through renewable energy sources.

In 2022, FTA recognized 10 agencies during the first phase of the challenge, which took place from June 2021 to April 2022. The first phase saw 171 transit agencies sign on. The second phase saw an increase of 222 transit agencies participating in the FTA Climate Challenge. 

“Transit agencies across the country are greening their fleets, hardening critical infrastructure and transitioning their workforces to reduce the disproportionate impacts of a warming climate on their communities,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez.

2023 Challenge Awards

MVTA, which serves a region around Minnesota’s Twin Cities, received the Most Transformative Plan Award for its 2023 Sustainability Plan. The plan provides a road map for expanding agency resources and capabilities to achieve carbon reduction goals throughout every aspect of the transit system, starting with a comprehensive public input and planning process. It highlights strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency as part of its commitment to a sustainable and equitable future for residents in the seven communities it serves.

“Minnesota Valley Transit Authority is taking a holistic approach to reducing its footprint, and I congratulate their award-winning efforts,” said Administrator Fernandez.

MTA, CTA and Everett Transit were recognized with Champions of the Challenge Awards, which is “bestowed on small, medium and large transit agencies that developed plans that include achievable, ambitious strategies for reaching their greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.”

New York’s MTA was recognized for its 2022 Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan. This plan details a framework for the nation’s largest bus fleet that prioritizes earlier and larger deployments of zero-emission buses in at-risk communities. MTA aims to transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus service by 2039 while also training workers in the new technology, maintaining service and prioritizing communities most impacted by poor air quality and climate change.

“MTA’s plan prioritizes environmental justice, demonstrating their commitment to at-risk communities in New York City,” said Administrator Fernandez.

CTA was recognized for its Charging Forward: 2022 CTA Bus Electrification Planning Report. One of the first transit agencies to introduce electric buses in place of diesel-powered vehicles, CTA drafted a comprehensive report backed by data to inform the next steps to fully convert its 1,800-vehicle fleet to cleaner and greener electric buses. Among the plan’s goals is to deploy buses and upgrade bus facilities in ways that promote equity and environmental justice throughout the city. 

 "CTA’s focus on equity and environmental justice, present throughout a decade-long commitment to electrify its fleet and facilities, is commendable,” said Administrator Fernandez.

Everett Transit, which serves Snohomish County, Wash., was recognized for its Zero Emission Fleet Transition Plan, which FTA called ambitious and comprehensive. The plan sets a road map to transition its entire bus fleet by 2028, including worker training. The agency’s electrification efforts thus far – deploying 10 buses – have enabled Everett Transit to reduce approximately 2.2 million pounds of CO2 emissions throughout Snohomish County.

“I congratulate and thank Everett Transit for its ambitious electrification plan and their work to decrease carbon emissions in Washington,” Administrator Fernandez said.  

FTA encourages transit agencies interested in advancing their sustainability and climate goals to sign up for phase 3 of the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet initiative.

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.