Money coming for Birmingham-Jefferson Co. transit


The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority will receive $2.5 million to purchase new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to update its aging fleet, reduce emissions, and ensure reliable service for riders. {}U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement Friday. {}The project is one of 27 projects across the country selected to receive $59.3 million in funds through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) FY 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program.Secretary LaHood said, "These projects will also help transit agencies operate more efficiently, so they save money in the long run." {}This program is aimed at purchasing cleaner, greener buses that reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy while also delivering a more comfortable, reliable ride for passengers. The funds will help achieve President Barack Obama's goal of an independent and secure energy future. {}{}"As more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere in Birmingham and Jefferson Counties, it's good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won't pollute the neighborhood while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence," said FTA Administrator Rogoff. "By investing in these clean-fuel projects today, we're helping to ensure that transit service is good for the environment for years to come."The types of projects selected to receive funding include replacing aging diesel buses with new hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) or zero-emissions electric vehicles; building new fueling stations to accommodate alternative-fuel vehicles; and purchasing new clean-fuel hybrid batteries for buses.Transit ridership across the U.S. has increased 16 out of the last 19 months, and in July 2012, ridership was up by 2.5 percent over the prior 12-month period. {}