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SMTD gets federal help to reduce bus emissions

SMTD bus

The Sangamon Mass Transit District is receiving nearly $6 million as part of the U.S. Department of Transportations Low-No Emissions Bus program. The money will help the district replace eight diesel buses with four that run on natural gas and four hybrid electric/diesel buses.

The SMTD Board last spring approved its first Zero Emissions Fleet Transition Plan. That’s a requirement for many federal grants that can help replace aging buses.

“Since adding compressed natural gas buses to our fleet in the mid-90s, SMTD has been a leader in Illinois in running low-emissions buses,” said SMTD Managing Director Steve Schoeffel at that time. “With forty percent of our fleet CNG, we’re moving to change out our diesel fleet with diesel-electric hybrids, making our fleet fully low-emissions in the next ten years.”

Currently, SMTD runs 34 diesel-fueled buses and 22 compressed natural gas buses. With the help of these federal funds, more than 50 percent of their bus fleet will be made up of low-emissions vehicles for the first time.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin appeared with Schoeffel and other dignitaries for the announcement this week.

“Low emission vehicles are quickly becoming the backbone of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Durbin. “With public transit systems joining the movement, we’re one step closer to enabling a cleaner future for younger generations. I’m grateful our transit agencies in Illinois have made this a priority and are leading the way in replacing their bus fleets with lower emission options.”

“With the right resources, places like Springfield can lead the way in embracing 21st century technology and reducing our impact on the environment,” added Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski. “This $6 million investment from the Department of Transportation is a game changer – making low-emission vehicles half of the Springfield Mass Transit District’s fleet and giving families access to clean, reliable transportation.”

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