Charlotte Area Transit System awarded $30 million to advance its Fleet

Published on June 27, 2023


Charlotte Area Transit System awarded $30 million to advance its Fleet Electrification and Workforce Development Programs

Charlotte, N.C – The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is proud to announce it has been awarded $30 million from the Federal Transit Administration to continue the advancement of its sustainability and resiliency efforts.  This grant award will help fund the replacement of 31 diesel buses with low or no emission buses, associated battery electric bus infrastructure as well as training on how to maintain and operate the agency’s growing electric fleet.  It will also support new software intended to assist in managing CATS fleet between its operations and maintenance facilities.  The full investment for these activities totals roughly $57 million which includes CATS participating contribution to the projects.

“CATS is working diligently on replacing it’s old, diesel buses.  We are grateful to FTA for this award which will support our efforts to create a more sustainable, equitable, and efficient system for our community.  We are also very grateful for the support of our Metropolitan Transit Commission and Charlotte City Council, our federal and state delegations, as well as our partners at Mecklenburg County and Centralina Council of Governments for their support of this application.” said Brent Cagle, Interim Chief Executive Officer of CATS. “These efforts work to reinforce our mission to deliver high quality, affordable transit services that connect people, jobs and communities in the growing Charlotte region.”

CATS has worked to prioritize climate action since the late 2018 adoption of the City of Charlotte’s Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP). Several of its investments have included hiring a Sustainability and Resiliency Officer, partnering with eTransEnergy, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, for its initial BEB program which also received funding from the FTA in 2020 through this same competitive grant program, beginning its zero-emission fleet on corridors with lower air quality and integrating sustainable development into its design practices through its continued pursuit of LEED and other comparable certifications. CATS is also in process on developing its first comprehensive Zero Emission Transition Plan which should be finalized later this year.

New buses and infrastructure are not the only items this grant will support.  “Workforce development is also a priority for CATS as we advance our efforts with these technologies,” said Catherine Kummer, Sustainability and Resiliency Officer of CATS. Ensuring our current employees and future employees have the tools needed to succeed is something we take seriously, and we are grateful to FTA for their support of our workforce development program, eSERVE Academy. eSERVE Academy stands for Electric Sustainable Environmentally Reliable Vehicle Education with primary objectives being to produce industry valued and recognized electric vehicle certified technicians and to increase the number of apprenticeships and cooperative education participants in transit.”

The funding for this grant will specifically support the following activities:

  • 15 battery electric buses (BEB) and 16 hybrid electric-diesel buses
  • 15 battery electric bus charging stations
  • Natural gas generator, replacing an existing diesel generator to ensure continuity of operations
  • Advancement of CATS workforce development and training program, eSERVE Academy
  • Software upgrades to current yard management systems and tooling for electric vehicle repair and maintenance

The grant funds are provided through the FTA’s competitive 2023 Low or No Emission and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program, which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). These federal resources are available to states and FTA direct recipient grantees to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities, including technological changes or innovations to modify low or no emission vehicles or facilities.

For more information on the Low or No Emission Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities, please visit: Federal Transit Administration Low or No Emission and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities


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