BUFFALO, NY --- Representatives from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) announced the forthcoming addition of 91 new energy-efficient buses, which will hit the streets of Western New York over the next 15 months -- thanks to $39,711,371 in federal funding.
"This significant investment in Western New York's public transportation network will replace older, less efficient buses, reduce costs, decrease our use of fossil fuel and reduce emissions -- leading to a better, cleaner community," said Congressman Brian Higgins, who represents the 27th district in New York.
Eunice A. Lewin, chairwoman of the NFTA Surface Transportation Committee, praised Higgins' efforts to secure funding for the buses. "As a result of Congressman Higgins' efforts, we are making considerable progress to significantly upgrade our fleet, help the environment and improve our level of customer service," Lewin said.
In 2004 Congress designated $11.8 million in transit funding set to expire in October 2007. Upon learning of the imminent loss of these funds, in August 2007 Congressman Higgins convened federal and local stakeholders so these federal dollars would not be lost to the region. The United States Department of Transportation announced its approval of Higgins' request to repurpose these funds in January and the funds were officially awarded on Sept. 25. This federal transportation money will be used to purchase 24 40-foot hybrid buses.
"Allowing these funds to disappear from Western New York's grasp was never an option," said Higgins. "With the help of the NFTA and people in Washington we fought to keep these resources here."
The NFTA received $3,480,583 through the Federal Transit Administration's Clean Fuels Grant Program. Through this grant, 11 40-foot hybrid electric buses will be purchased to replace life-expired diesel buses operating in the NFTA's service area.
In addition, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided $8.4 billion for investments in transit. The NFTA received $24,430,788 through the Recovery Act, which will be used to purchase 56 clean diesel buses.
NFTA Metro carries about 94,000 people each weekday and operates a fleet of over 324 buses.