Press Release: 2024-07-10

Healey-Driscoll Administration Celebrates Nearly $60 Million in “Low-No” Federal Grants to Electrify Buses


FTA’s "Low or No Emissions” funding program helps transit authorities acquire zero- and low-emission buses; Grant awards going to the MBTA, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, and Vineyard Transit Authority 




Karissa Hand, Press Secretary


Call Karissa Hand, Press Secretary at 617-725-4025

BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll Administration today celebrated three federal grant awards from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s Low or No Emissions Grant Program to help three transit authorities acquire zero and low-emission buses. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is receiving $40 million in support of the Battery-Electric Bus Transition Phase 1B Project, which aims to replace the diesel-fueled buses at the Quincy Bus Maintenance Facility with state-of-the-art battery-electric buses (BEBs), furthering the MBTA’s goal to fully transition to a zero-emission fleet by 2040.  

Additionally, a $14.6 million grant has been awarded to the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) and a $3.8 million grant has been awarded to the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA). CCRTA is scheduled to use the funding for the purchase of 13, 35-foot diesel-hybrid buses to replace the 13 diesel buses currently in CCRTA's fleet, and to acquire the necessary maintenance tools and staff training. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has pledged to match this federal award with $2 million in state funding. Meanwhile, the VTA will use its funding for the purchase of four new all-electric buses, including one 35-foot and three 30-foot buses, and to acquire DC fast chargers at the VTA’s operations and maintenance facility, and staff training.

"The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. It's essential that we electrify our fleet to meet our climate goals and improve service for riders,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This funding will be a critical boost for the MBTA, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, and Vineyard Transit Authority’s efforts to transition to low- and zero-emission buses, and we're grateful to the Biden-Harris administration and our Congressional delegation for making this possible." 

“Massachusetts has set ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets for ourselves, and these funding awards are further fueling our momentum in taking on the climate challenge,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Congratulations to the recipients, who are helping our state lead by example in fighting for a greener future.” 

“We are pleased to provide federal support to MBTA, CCRTA and VTA to buy electric and hybrid buses, which will help Boston-area transit systems continue to create opportunities that change people’s lives while reducing their environmental footprint,” said FTA Regional Administrator Peter Butler. “With these new buses, the agencies will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and create good-paying jobs.”

“This federal funding will help these three public transportation entities move ahead with fleet electrification and will lead to greenhouse gas reductions in Massachusetts and further facilitate the decarbonization of the transportation sector,” said Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “We are proud to champion the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s climate goals and continue to make strides in making our operations and services greener.”

“I’m proud of the efforts of the MBTA team submitting a strong application and thankful for the federal support with this significant award that prioritizes the transition of our bus fleet to battery-electric vehicles and supports our wider sustainability goal to reduce our carbon footprint,” said MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng. “Under the leadership of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, we continue to be aggressive in seeking all available federal discretionary funds – these funds are an important part of our wider efforts to deliver safe, reliable, and improved transit for the public. We appreciate the support of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, congressional delegation, local officials, and the many riders who will benefit from these battery electric buses.”

“The RTAs have been great partners in advancing the state’s climate goals, bringing electric and hybrid vehicles into their fleets and ensuring their teams get the necessary training to operate and maintain these vehicles,” said MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator Meredith Slesinger. “I want to thank our MassDOT staff who work closely with the RTAs to support these efforts.” 

“Investments like these are helping Massachusetts write the next chapter in advancing climate-friendly public transit. Thank you to President Biden, U.S. DOT, and the Massachusetts congressional delegation for making these awards possible,” said Director of Federal Funds and Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey. “This great news is another example of our whole-of-government strategy to secure federal funding that will improve our transportation infrastructure while furthering our climate goals and providing good-paying jobs for the people of Massachusetts.”

The MBTA plans to use this $40 million in federal funds to support its MBTA Battery-Electric Bus Transition Phase 1B Project and the procurement of forty, 40-foot, fully accessible, low-floor, state-of-the-art BEBs. These BEBs will replace the remaining diesel buses at the Quincy Bus Maintenance Facility, which are beyond their useful life. Furthering the MBTA’s ambitious goal to fully transition to a zero-emission fleet by 2040, this Project will directly reduce harmful emissions across areas that suffer from the negative effects of diesel buses and will facilitate safe, equitable, accessible, and reliable service across the many busy bus routes stemming from the Quincy facility. These bus routes also provide critical connections, especially to those who are transit-dependent.

“I am exceptionally pleased with notification that the CCRTA was awarded a $14.6 million grant through the FTA low-no grant program.  This significant funding will enable us to procure 13 large hybrid buses, marking a crucial step in our commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuel vehicles,” said CCRTA Administrator Tom Cahir. “This grant is a pivotal investment in our sustainable future, enhancing our capacity to provide cleaner, more efficient public transportation for our community.”

“The VTA is thrilled to be awarded this funding which will be used to advance our goal of having a first of its kind, fully electric, renewably fueled transit fleet. We will be using our awarded funds to purchase four more electric buses, bringing our electric fleet to 28 vehicles or 87 percent of our overall bus fleet,” said VTA Administrator Angie Gompert. “This funding will also allow us to make investments in workforce development and charging infrastructure at our operations and maintenance facility. We are thankful to the Federal Transit Administration for this award and to MassDOT for their continued financial support of the VTA’s electrification vision.”

These grants follow a series of federal funding awards granted to Massachusetts since the Healey-Driscoll Administration launched a whole-of-government strategy to compete for federal dollars. The Administration has successfully won more than $2 billion in discretionary grants for transportation projects, including: $67 million to advance accessibility at Green Line stations, $335 million to reconnect communities and increase mobility through the Allston I-90 Multimodal Project, $372 million for the replacement of the Cape Cod Canal bridges, $108 million for West-East Rail, $75 million for schools to electrify their bus fleets, and $24 million to rehabilitate Leonard’s Wharf in New Bedford.

The FTA Low or No Emission Grant Program provides funding to state and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses as well as acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities. Funding is allocated to projects on a competitive basis, from proposals submitted to the FTA in response to a Notice of Funding Opportunity.  Additional information can be found on the FTA’s website: 

Congressional Delegation Statements:

Senator Ed Markey:

“Electric buses will transport us to a greener, more livable future. By securing these federal investments, Massachusetts is taking a big step towards a zero-emission transportation system across the state. Electric buses not only eliminate emissions but improve air quality for places such as Quincy and Cape Cod, all while transporting people to their everyday needs. It’s a win-win-win.”  

Senator Elizabeth Warren:

“Cleaner air, good-paying jobs, and new transit options - that’s what electric buses mean for Massachusetts. As we step up our efforts to fight climate change, this funding will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and create more sustainable communities.”

Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-05):

“For years, Massachusetts has been gaining ground in the fight against climate change because of our collective focus on a greener future. Now, thanks to this transformational federal investment, we are closer to that sustainable future. forward to seeing these dollars put to work to advance MassDOT’s MBTA electrification plan, and I am eager to continue working alongside the Healey-Driscoll administration to realize our vision of a cleaner Commonwealth.”

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07):

“With communities of color in the Massachusetts 7th bearing the brunt of environmental and transit injustice, transitioning to low- or zero-emission buses in the Commonwealth will help right these wrongs while also confronting the climate crisis. These are the type of intersectional investments we need and I’m glad to see these federal dollars coming back to Massachusetts.