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City Bringing First Electric Buses to Albuquerque

Big step towards Mayor Keller’s sustainability goals with $2.7 million federal grant.

August 6, 2019

At a press conference wrapping up a statewide Energy Summit convened by Senator Martin Heinrich and co-hosted by the City of Albuquerque, Mayor Tim Keller announced the next in a series of steps to make the City a leader in sustainability.

Albuquerque is bringing the first electric buses to ABQ RIDE routes with $2.78 million in federal funding that the City won in a competitive grant process. The buses are for regular ABQ RIDE routes and cannot be used on the ART corridor.

The grant funding comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low-or No-Emission (Low-No) grant program, which awarded grants to help 38 cities out of more than 150 applicants, purchase transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced propulsion technologies.

“We are not waiting to take bold action on climate change right here at the local level,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “With this $2.7 million federal grant we will bring the first electric buses to Albuquerque. Transitioning our fleets is just one of the projects we’ve taken on to make Albuquerque one of the top 10 cities in the nation for renewable energy. It’s not just a number to us, it’s about equity. Our residents already know the impact of climate change, as local farmers along the Rio Grande deal with changing conditions and kids with asthma can’t play outside on high ozone days.”

In combination with other funding, this grant will buy five 40-foot electric buses to supplement service on local ABQ RIDE routes. The grant also pays for related expenses such as chargers for the new buses. An electric bus manufacturer will be chosen in a competitive bid process.

“Albuquerque received the fourth highest funding amount of all the recipients,” stated Transit Director Bernie Toon. “While electric technology is not ready to be used on the ART route, we aren’t waiting to start transitioning our other buses. These new electric buses will go a long way in moving our city toward using more sustainable energy in the future.”

Electric vehicles are one part of a sustainability initiative the Keller administration has launched to make Albuquerque a top-10 city for renewable energy nationwide, including:

  • Signing the Paris Climate Agreement upon taking office.
  • Investing $25 million in solar projects at 12 city-owned buildings.
  • Creating the Green Team Initiative to expand sustainability thinking and practice across all City departments.
  • Winning the Bloomberg American Cities climate challenge, securing resources to support our sustainability efforts and hire staff with a sustainability focus.
  • Investing the $600,000 in Volkswagen Settlement funding to build charging stations for public use and begin to transition the City fleet to EV
  • Launching an innovative partnership with Solar Direct with PNM and the Jicarilla Apache Tribe to get ABQ to 65% renewable energy by 2021.
  • Replacing old streetlights with more efficient LEDs.
  • Retrofitting City buildings to increase energy efficient and lower carbon footprints.

Mayor Keller also thanks the many local community leaders who contributed letters of support toward Albuquerque’s grant application to the Federal Transit Administration, including:

  • NM Energy Conservation and Management Division
  • NM Solar Energy Association
  • Mid-Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Mid-Regional Council of Governments
  • PNM
  • Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
  • Land of Enchantment Clean Cities
  • REIA NM
  • BioPark Conservation Program
  • New Mexico Environmental Law Center
  • Audubon New Mexico
  • Electrification Coalition
  • 350.org New Mexico
  • Juntos: Our Air, Our Water
  • NM BioPark Society
  • National Resources Defense Council

For more information about the Low-or No-Emission grant program and the communities who received grants, visit www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/fiscal-year-2019-low-or-no-emission-low-no-bus-program-projects.