Ulster to purchase electric buses

County Executive Pat Ryan signed a series of resolutions today that provide just over $2 million in funding to Ulster County Area Transit’s (UCAT) Five-Year Capital Plan. Together, these resolutions provide the ability for UCAT to maintain its bus fleet in a state of good repair and invest in electric buses and charging equipment.

“This funding will help ensure that UCAT is among the first small transit agencies to champion electric buses and that Ulster County continues to lead the way in promoting a more sustainable future through the continued investment in clean energy to power our local transportation,” said Ryan.

UCAT was awarded these funds through a combination of federal and state grants. Specifically, UCAT was the recipient of Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5311 funds for rural areas in the amount of $1,181,074, which will be used to purchase five buses to replace buses that have reached the end of their useful life. The New York State Department of Transportation also awarded UCAT $834,720 as part of its Accelerated Transit Capital and Modernization and Enhancement Programs. These funds will be used in part to offset federally required county shares for UCAT’s upcoming bus purchases and to fully fund the three zero-emission electric transit buses. As a result, the county will not need to use its own funds for these projects.

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In order to purchase electric buses, UCAT issued a request for proposals in the fourth quarter of 2019 for battery-electric buses. Following a rigorous review process that included demonstrations of electric buses from all four American manufacturers in early 2020, UCAT awarded New Flyer of America the contract. The buses will also be purchased in part using funds allocated to New York from the federal settlement with Volkswagen, which are administered by NYSERDA’s NY Truck Voucher Incentive Program. UCAT is currently collaborating with the Ulster County Department of Environment, and the Planning Department, and has retained the firm Creighton Manning to study full fleet electrification.