In a bid to prove the effectiveness of low-impact public travel systems, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) announced a pilot program in conjunction with the Nashville Metropolitan Area Transit Authority that will finance the purchase of electric buses and charging stations in the Nashville, Tennessee area.
DoT Secretary Ray LaHood, speaking at a press conference in Nashville unveiling the proposal, spoke about the benefits the program would offer and how it could set the standard for other public undertakings that focus on renewable energy sources.
"In Tennessee and across the country, President Obama is committed to investing in sustainable transportation systems that improve access to jobs, education, and medical care for millions of riders, while bringing cleaner air to our communities and reducing our dependence on oil," LaHood told reporters at the press conference. "These projects will also help transit agencies operate more efficiently, so they save money in the long run."
This initiative is part of a nationwide push to build more energy-efficient infrastructure that includes public transit. Twenty-seven projects adding up to $59.3 million in funding will be implemented over the next year thanks to the Federal Transit Administration's Clean Fuels Grant Program, which aims to increase fuel economy in buses and trains in U.S. metropolitan areas.
According to green industry news source Earthtechling, other projects include one in Louisville, Kentucky intended to replace a costly trolley network with zero-emission buses and a plan in Miami, Florida, to swap out antiquated engines and cooling systems in the city's existing transit system with more energy-efficient technologies.
Over the next several years, readers should expect to see more announcements from communities as they overhaul their public infrastructures to both cut costs and reduce their environmental footprints.