South Metro Area Regional Transit earns grant to add alternative fuel vehicles

June 1, 2018. The City of Wilsonville's South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) agency has won two competitive grants totaling $555.200.

   These awards, approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) on May 17, account for 15 percent of $3.7 million in federal transit funds awarded statewide. With these awards — which are augmented by a 20 percent funding match of $111.000 from the City — SMART intends to purchase new transit vehicles and expand alternative fueling infrastructure.

   A $435.200 federal FAST Act Section 5339 "Small Urban Bus Replacement" award is funding the purchase of an all-weather trolley bus, two small cut-away buses and a supervisor/paratransit van outfitted with an ADA-compliant wheelchair lift.

   All three new buses are powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), a cleaner alternative to diesel fuel that advances the Wilsonville City Council goals for greater sustainability and reduced operating costs. Sixteen transit agencies in Oregon sought 47 vehicles; 27 vehicles were recommended for awards totaling $2.955.608.

   A $120.000 federal FAST Act Section 5339 "Discretionary Facilities, Equipment, Signage and Shelters" award is supporting the expansion of SMART's CNG fueling station for buses.

The funds increase the SMART CNG fueling station capacity to provide a quick-fill option for a growing fleet of CNG vehicles. Statewide, 14 transit agencies submitted requests; nine projects, totaling $811,546, were recommended for awards.

   "These grant awards are accelerating SMART's ability to convert the bus fleet from older, more polluting diesel buses to more efficient and less polluting alternative-fuel electric-powered and CNG vehicles," SMART Transit Director Dwight Brashear said. "Beyond those benefits, we are finding that the alternative-fuel buses are much quieter, easier and less costly to maintain and offer our riders a more pleasant travel experience."