Saturday, November 19, 2011

Public transit receives $4 million in federal grants for green projects

METRO light rail and Valley Metro/RPTA have each received a TIGGER III (Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) grant award together totaling more than $4 million for energy-saving projects. Forty-six total projects were selected nationwide following a review of more than 250 applications.

METRO will use its $2.7 million grant to build a solar shade canopy to cover stored light rail vehicles at the Operations and Maintenance Center. The canopy will cover an expanse of 142,000 square feet and provide crucial shading to light rail vehicles while also generating enough electricity to satisfy nearly 100 percent of the maintenance facility’s power needs. METRO will seek private sector support to develop the project.

Valley Metro is being awarded $1.3 million to retrofit as many as 70 buses with an innovative electric engine cooling fan system that is cost effective and lowers pollutant emissions. Energy savings are anticipated with a nine percent reduction in fuel consumption. The original idea for the cooling system is developed from military vehicles and now being applied to transit buses.

“We appreciate the support from the FTA to innovate transit operations in the Valley,” said METRO CEO Steve Banta. “The infusion of federal dollars will put people to work as well as generate long-term operational cost savings. Transit investment is a solution to the stalled economy.”

TIGGER is a Federal Transit Administration competitive grant program that supports transit capital investments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or energy use. The FTA seeks out projects that enhance operational efficiencies, demonstrate innovation and help achieve agency and federal sustainability goals.

For more information on the TIGGER III grant program and Fiscal Year 2011 award recipients, visit

Photos are available upon request.


METRO is responsible for the development and operation of the region’s high-capacity transit system. The first 20-mile light rail line opened December 2008 and served 12.6 million riders in 2010, exceeding the prior year by 11 percent. METRO serves an average of 40,000 riders each weekday while also planning for six extensions that will create a 57-mile system by 2031.

About Valley Metro/RPTA

Valley Metro RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, a bio-diesel Dial-a-Ride fleet, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local and federal revenues. A board of 16 governments sets the policy direction for the agency and works to improve and regionalize the public transit system.

Source: Metro Light Rail

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