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RTA awarded $5.1 million to purchase five electric buses

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) a $5.1 million grant to buy five 40-foot hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, propelling RTA’s goal of transitioning its directly operated fleet of compressed natural gas buses (CNG) to zero-emission vehicles.

The move to replace all 145 large buses is expected to happen in phases beginning in 2026. Smaller buses and trolleys, currently powered by CNG and unleaded gas could also go zero emission.

News of the federal grant comes just a few weeks after RTA Chair and Temecula Mayor Pro Tem Zak Schwank, RTA Second Vice Chair and Canyon Lake Mayor Jeremy Smith and RTA Chief Executive Officer Kristin Warsinski visited Washington, D.C. to advocate for more funding to support RTA’s move to hydrogen fuel.

“RTA has always been a leader in eco-friendly transportation,” Schwank said. “Looking ahead, we are excited about continuing our tradition by making significant investments in zero-emission vehicles. The future is bright for RTA and federal funding coming our way will help us build a leaner, greener fleet.”

Smith said RTA is pleased to join transit agencies across America that are already developing and implementing projects to move to zero-emission buses.

“This funding will help our efforts to charge forward and make a real difference in the way public transportation is delivered in western Riverside County,” he said. “We are thrilled to receive this much-needed funding and appreciative of the support we’ve received on a national level.”

This isn’t the first federal grant that RTA has received to build a more eco-friendly fleet. Just a few months ago, the RTA netted an $8.7 million grant to build the hydrogen fueling stations at its Riverside and Hemet facilities to power its future fleet.

As part of the announcement Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation also awarded RTA a second grant worth $1.6 million for the purchase and installation of solar panels at its Riverside and Hemet facilities, a move that will help to reduce electricity costs.

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