$1.5M in grant money will be used for electric CARTA buses

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) recently found out they will get a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The money will be used to buy three electric buses for CARTA. The money is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration’s Low- or No-Emission Grant program. BCDCOG is the only organization in South Carolina to receive money from this recent grant which is funding several projects throughout the country. 

“Electric buses are efficient, they are no-emission, they are cheaper, ultimately, to run they’re just expensive to produce," Chairman of CARTA, Mike Seekings, said. "It is the wave of the future."

Each bus will cost about $500,000 and all three are being produced in Greenville, SC by the manufacturer, Proterra.

“CARTA, especially in the last three or four years, has been on a mission to replace, what was three years ago, the oldest fleet of buses in any transit system in the U.S.," Seeking added. “We’ve got buses out there with a million and a half miles on them and the useful life is about half a million.”

Seekings said the ultimate goal is to replace the entire fleet with low-emission or no-emission buses but knows that will take time and more money. He said the groups are looking to apply for more grants to buy more buses.

“This is yet another step forward for public transportation in the region,” BCDCOG and CARTA executive director Ron Mitchum said. “Our staff worked diligently to secure funding for these clean-fuel vehicles, which will be the first of many on tri-county streets and highways.” 

The grant was just announced so the groups don't know when exactly the buses will be in the Lowcountry but Seekings said he hopes it will be sooner rather than later.

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