WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $1,900,000 to Laketran to purchase a zero-emission electric transit bus and three charging stations. The addition of the charging stations will allow Laketran to run any of their fixed routes on zero-emission technology. In 2019, Brown wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of Laketran’s investment in electric buses, and he helped secure the funds for the grant program as part of the multi-year surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, that was enacted in 2015.
“Lake County riders rely on buses to take them to work, school, or appointments and then to take them back home again,” said Brown. “Laketran is a leader in adopting new technology that reduces emissions and lowers the cost of providing transit service. This additional investment will help Laketran improve service for their riders and help Ohio continue its leadership in developing and deploying the next generation of zero-emission buses.”
“I’d like to the thank Senator Brown for his ongoing encouragement for federal investment in zero-emission transit projects and the FTA for their continued investment in alternative fueled vehicles through their Low-No program,” said Laketran Board of Trustees President Brian Falkowski. “This grant will allow us to increase our zero-emission fleet size to 10 buses and have the ability to electrify any route within our fixed routes system. Laketran is committed to operating the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles and with this award, the majority of our transit buses will be powered by electricity instead of diesel or gasoline by 2021.”
These funds are part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program. Brown – who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees DOT’s Federal Transit Administration – has championed federal investment in zero-emission buses. Brown was the lead Senate Democratic negotiator on the public transportation title of the FAST Act. That law doubled federal investment in the Low-No program, which distributed nearly $130 million to zero-emission projects this year, like Laketran project.
In August of 2018, at Brown’s urging, DOT announced a $2,290,000 award to assist Laketran with the purchase of two low-emission electric buses and two charging stations that will service Lake County residents. Brown pushed the Trump Administration to support the project, citing the need for investment in Lake County transportation and Laketran’s readiness to implement the funds as part of their Battery Electric Fleet Conversion project. In November of 2019, Brown announced that DOT awarded $4,300,000 to Laketran to purchase battery electric buses and equipment, and reconstruct a park and ride facility. These investments will help Laketran’s plan to become one of the first transit agencies in Ohio to have all of it’s fixed-route local bus service run with zero emission technology.