The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently recognized the Antelope Valley Transit Authority and nine other transit agencies for exemplary efforts in combating climate change.

“By helping people efficiently and affordably get where they need to go, public transit plays a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re delighted to honor these 10 public transit agencies leading the charge to protect our communities against climate change.”

Created in June 2021 to help advance President Joe Biden’s greenhouse gasses (GHG) reduction goals, the FTA’s “Climate Challenge” calls on transit agencies to develop strategies to reduce emissions, such as converting fleets to electric buses, making facilities more energy efficient, and generating power through renewable energy sources. 

A total of 171 transit agencies from Maine to Hawaii signed on to participate in the FTA Climate Challenge. The FTA helped participants advance their goals with technical resources, targeted listening sessions, and peer exchanges.

The FTA presented its Climate Challenge awards on Friday, April 22, during the 52nd celebration of Earth Day. AVTA won the award for “Most Accomplished” for meeting its 100 percent electric fleet goal and becoming the first transit agency in North America to be all-electric. 

AVTA reported a savings of $2.3 million after converting its bus fleet to all electric, largely thanks to saving 1,750,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the FTA.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority was awarded the “Most Ambitious” honor for exceeding President Biden’s goal of a 50-percent reduction in GHG emissions.

The FTA on Friday also launched phase two of its Climate Challenge, which seeks to increase participation and focuses on electrification or zero-emission transition plans to achieve the President’s GHG emissions goals.

The FTA and the Federal Highway Administration also launched a joint Flexible Funding website to encourage communities to use flex funding for projects that promote safer routes to transit. This support for bicycle lanes, better pedestrian walkways, trails, lighting, and other projects enhances safety and access to transit stations and bus stops, reducing vehicle trips and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, according to the FTA.

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