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Federal grant to buy six electric DART buses

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DART will operate more than two dozen of these electric buses thanks to a new $3.5 million federal grant. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DTC

DOVER – As part of a continuing effort to reduce emissions and be more environmentally friendly, the Delaware Transit Corp (DTC) is pleased to announce it has received a fourth Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant of more than $3.53 million to purchase additional electric buses that will grow DART First State’s alternative fuel fleet.

The agency has now received more than $9.1 million in total through these grants to support the purchase of electric buses.

DART is currently running 16 electric buses statewide, with four additional buses going into service this fall. The six additional buses to be purchased with the latest grant will bring the fleet total to 26 electric buses, or about 10% of the current fixed route diesel buses.

Electric buses last longer, are cleaner, easier to maintain, produce zero emissions and offer the same capacity for riders compared to their diesel relatives. They produce 90% fewer particulates (hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions and 60% fewer oxides of nitrogen). One bus can travel up to 250 miles on a single charge. With fast charging stations throughout the state, buses can quickly recharge so they continue to run all day.

Delaware’s Democratic Congressional delegation of Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, have fought for funding to decrease carbon emissions and support electric vehicles and buses, and the infrastructure to support it.

“Through this grant from Federal Transportation Authority, the Delaware Transit Corp. will be able to purchase several additional electric buses for use throughout the state,” Carper, Coons and Blunt Rochester said in a combined statement. “Continued investments in electric vehicles, like the DART First State Electric Buses, will help move Delaware forward toward a more environmentally and energy-efficient state. We’re proud of DART for committing to a greener and cleaner future for Delaware and look forward to securing additional funding at the federal level to increase Delaware’s fleet of electric buses.”

Gov. John Carney added in a statement, “Just last week, I signed Senate Bill 21, amending the Delaware Energy Act to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles by creating a more accessible charging-station infrastructure in the First State. I am proud that our state agencies are also adopting the use of electric vehicles, especially for public transportation that results in less air pollution from buses that operate continuously throughout the day.”

“The need for alternative modes of transportation grows daily as does the need for cleaner transportation. We are grateful for this grant and the opportunity continue to explore ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to provide the highest quality transportation services to the community,” State Transportation Secretary Nicole Majeski said in a statement.

The first FTA grant of about $2 million for the purchase of six electric buses are currently operating in and around Dover. The second grant of $1 million for the purchase of an additional 10 electric buses operating in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach. DTC received a third grant of $2.6 million for four electric buses to supplement the busy resort season in late summer of 2021.

The Delaware Transit Corporation, a subsidiary of the Delaware Department of Transportation, operates DART First State. For more information, please visit DartFirstState.com or call 1-800-652-DART. Real-Time Bus Information and DART Pass, the mobile fare payment option, are both available on the free DART Transit App (iOS and Android).

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