Thinking forward: MTA announces $1.7M grant for new electric buses

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon Transit Authority is gassing up for what’s to come–brand new electric buses.

Chairman of the board, Craig Ross, announced MTA as a recipient of a $1.7 million federal grant that would pay for not one but two new electric buses.

“The Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority–in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation–will receive funding to purchase battery electric buses and supporting charger infrastructure,” Ross said at a news conference on Wednesday morning.

The entire Federal Transit Administration grant for $55 million was spread among 51 recipients. Macon-Bibb was one of only six to receive $1.7 million.

“We were the only transit authority or transit system in the state of Georgia to receive this grant, so nobody else,” Ross said.

By getting new, Eco-friendly 35-foot buses to replace older models, the county and MTA want to sway more people to use public transit.

“We want to make it so attractive, so clean, so timely and so affordable, so that young people who don’t own cars and millennial’s will have the opportunity to get where they need to go on clean, efficient public transportation,” said Mayor Robert Reichert.

Not only that, they also hope that by going ‘electric’, they can start to reduce diesel fuel emissions in the air.

“MTA will increase overall fleet efficiency, reduce emissions and develop relevant skills and the experience necessary to enable future expansion of zero emission buses,” Ross added.

Macon Transit Authority members wanted to have a model of the new buses for people to see but weren’t able to because of a scheduling conflict. Those buses should be on the streets of Macon-Bibb in anywhere from 12 to 15 months.

The plan is for those buses to be ready just in time for the ribbon cutting on the Second Street corridor bridge, since both are expected to be complete around the same time.