The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) secured an $18,054,003 competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to purchase new buses for East County operations. It was the second largest grant awarded in the nation for the department’s $100 million “Ladders of Opportunity” initiative.
MTS will use the grant funds to purchase 45 Gillig buses powered by natural gas, replacing older models that have reached the end of their useful life. The new buses will be manufactured in California, include on-board video surveillance inside and outside the vehicle, new wheelchair restraint systems, disk brakes, CNG tanks with 20-year lifespans and enhanced cooling systems.
The buses will operate out of the East County Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility. MTS is also investing $31 million to expand and modernize that facility to include a new 34,000-square-foot high-bay maintenance building, a 10,275-square-foot mezzanine and second floor office areas. The facility will accommodate 120 buses serving East County and is expected to be complete by June 2016.
“This was a very competitive grant process and we were able to secure nearly 20 percent of the entire grant funding available for the entire United States,” said Paul Jablonski, CEO of MTS. “This is a big win for us and our riders. It keeps us on pace to retire the last of our diesel buses from our fleet.”
It is worth mentioning that MTS will be hosting L-NGV2015 San Diego, which will take place on April 27-29, 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center in California. This event is endorsed by NGVAmerica, sponsored by Luxfer and Southern California Gas Company and organized by NGV Communications Group. For more information, please visit the official website.