Senators Secure Highly Competitive Federal “Low & No Emission Grants” For TCAT To Pave The Way For Better, More Accessible, Equitable, And Cleaner Bus Services In Tompkins County 

Schumer, Gillibrand Help Electrify Ithaca With New, Clean Electric Buses To Power The Local Fight Against Climate Change! 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $8,740,975 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant Program for the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT). The senators explained that following their direct advocacy to Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, TCAT was selected for the highly competitive federal grant program which will allow them to purchase six, forty-foot electric buses as well as four electric micro-buses, accelerating Ithaca’s emission reduction and electrification goals, all while improving transportation services and accessibility for communities across Tompkins County. 

“Ithaca is leading New York and our nation in the fight against climate change, and now the local movement just got supercharged with an over $8 million fed boost to purchase six spanking new, non-polluting electric buses and four electric micro-buses to provide riders with a safe ride while helping the environment at every stop along the way,” said Senator Schumer. “When I led the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law to passage, and this past week when we delivered the largest ever investment in fighting climate change, it is Ithaca’s gorges natural landscape and the tremendous projects like this that drive our local economies forward and expand accessibility that I had in mind. Tompkins County is leading by example as a climate champion and I am proud to deliver this funding to reduce dirty, fossil fuels to in our bus fleets so commuters can have a safer, faster, and cleaner ride.”

“Ithaca has long been a local leader in the transition to green energy and this investment is another important step in the right direction,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Ithaca’s new electric buses will improve accessibility, reduce pollution, and boost the local economy. I fought to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law to provide funding for innovative clean transit projects like this one and I’ll keep working to make sure that New York State remains a leader in sustainable development and the fight against climate change.”

“TCAT once again thanks Sen. Chuck Schumer and all of our advocates for moving us closer to our goal of operating an entirely carbon-free fleet by 2035. Our community has always been forward-thinking in pushing for environmental sustainability, which in turn has inspired TCAT to aggressively pursue funding over the past several years to make that vision a reality,” said Scot Vanderpool, General Manager of TCAT. “TCAT in April of 2021 took possession of seven of its first-ever battery-electric buses, manufactured by Proterra, which were also funded through FTA’s Low-or-No Emission Program. Our riders and community members have been so appreciative to see emission-free mass transit vehicles on the street; tangible evidence that we are making strides toward a cleaner-and-greener future.”

“Electrification is the future, and our community is so grateful for the investments from our federal government in electrifying our local transportation infrastructure. Having more electric busses, and the facilities to support those busses, reduces our carbon emissions and contributes to our community’s climate goals,” said Shawna Black, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature. “We’ve already seen local electrification efforts inspiring the community to go green, and I look forward to seeing more electric busses on the road. Thanks to TCAT for their commitments to using renewable energy and investing in the future. Thank you to Senator Schumer for his work to deliver these funds to our community and make this commitment possible.”

Today’s investments are the product of months of advocacy by Schumer and Gillibrand to increase funding for transportation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law which included $5.6 billion over five years, or about $1.1 billion per year   for the Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant Program that made this funding possible. Furthermore, in the FY 22 Appropriations budget, they secured an additional $75 million for the program in this year alone. Since the start of the pandemic Schumer has fought hard to prioritize relief for Upstate New York transit systems so that they could not only make up for tremendous revenue losses during the height of COVID, but invest in their services to better service the community. The senator secured over $7 million for TCAT  through the CARES Act, over $2 million for TCAT through the FY21 COVID Omnibus (Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021), and an additional $7 million through the American Rescue Plan. Finally, in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act the senators were was able to deliver an estimated over $17 million for TCAT over the next 5 years.

Schumer has long devoted history to fighting climate change locally and expanding electric vehicle infrastructure. Just this past year Schumer helped deliver $7 million in federal funding for Ithaca based research in clean energy through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to fight climate change, including electric vehicle research. In October 2019, Schumer unveiled his Clean Cars For America Climate Proposal to help accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century by making clean cars and charging infrastructure accessible and affordable to all Americans, all while investing in the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries to ensure the U.S. leads the world in this industry. In the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, Schumer and Gillibrand deliver an estimated over $175 million in formula funding over the next five years to New York support the expansion of electric vehicle charging in the state

In addition, in the just passed Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in clean energy ever, Schumer has delivered on many additional provision. Including $370 billion in climate investments across the bill, two new clean vehicle tax credits – one for new vehicles and one for used that will bring down the upfront cost of clean vehicles estimated to provide $10 billion in benefits, and major cost-saving benefits for families with home energy rebates and consumer tax credits to make energy saving upgrades affordable.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Transportation Secretary Buttigieg advocating for the grant to TCAT appears below:

Dear Secretary Buttigieg:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by Tompkins County and the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT)’s for funding under the Low or No Emission Grant Program (Low-No).

TCAT is an award-winning small transit system that serves an economically robust and growing region of upstate New York. TCAT plays an integral role in the Tompkins County economy, serving residents, students, and commuters in the urban core and rural areas. Its ridership has grown much faster than the national average, increasing to more than 4 million rides last year.

With funding, the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit will purchase six, forty-foot electric buses as well as four electric micro-buses. These additions will provide TCAT and the community with state-of-the-art buses and promote green energy initiatives.

I applaud TCAT’s effort to strengthen the nation’s transportation infrastructure, and I sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration.




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