Mountain Line Receives Low-No Grant to Help Purchase Electric Buses

They might not be magic, but more electric buses will soon be on their way to the city thanks to a new grant award from the Federal Transit Administration. Mountain Line, Missoula’s community bus service, recently received a $500,000 Low or No Emission Vehicle Program (Low-No) grant to help the system purchase their first electric coaches.

“The Low-No award is terrific news because it will help us to achieve an important goal: beginning the conversion from diesel to electric buses,” said Andrea Davis, Chair of the Missoula Urban Transportation District (MUTD) Board of Directors, which operates Mountain Line. “Mountain Line benefits everyone in Missoula by reducing traffic congestion and improving our air quality. By going to cleaner, quieter, zero-emission buses, those benefits will be even greater.”

Davis says that the Low-No Grant will provide vital incremental funding to make up the cost difference between diesel and electric bus purchases. Mountain Line hopes to purchase 2 Proterra electric buses in the coming months that will be delivered by early 2019.

Low-No is a competitive program that provides funding to local government authorities for the purchase of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses. Mountain Line was one of a select number of systems to receive the award. Mountain Line partnered with Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and the Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) Office of Transportation to develop the winning proposal and will work with both partners to deploy the buses. CTE is a non-profit engineering firm whose mission is to move U.S. manufactured, clean transportation technologies into the marketplace. CTE’s involvement in these projects minimizes the risks associated with deploying advanced technology buses and ensures the most effective and efficient operation of these buses in demanding transit duty cycles. ASUM, which operates the UDASH system, put their first electric buses into service last year and will partner on charging infrastructure.

“This is great news for our city, our air shed, and our public transit system,” Davis concluded. “The MUTD Board is proud to be moving towards a cleaner, greener Missoula.”