Missoula’s public transit system received a boost in the form of $3.6 million this week to continue growing its fleet of electric buses.
The funding was announced Wednesday, first by Sen. Jon Tester and later from Sen. Steve Daines. The revenue stems from the Low and No Emissions Vehicle Grant Program, which aids in purchasing emission-free vehicles.
Mountain Line has committed to eliminating all tailpipe emissions from its fleet by 2035.
“Public transit is essential in our Montana communities, and Mountain Line has been connecting Missoula for decades,” Tester said. “Mountain Line has gone above and beyond, leading the way for our state with their commitment to sustainable and equitable public transportation that will continue to boost jobs and our economy well into the future.”
Daines said the funding will be used to replace four diesel buses with electric replacements and charging infrastructure.
“This is great news for Missoula and will help Missoula’s Urban Transportation District follow their fleet replacement plan,” Daines said.
The Mountain Line Board of Directors last year adopted a resolution for a fleet of vehicles that emit no emissions from their tail pipe by 2035. The goal is part of a larger effort to protect air quality across the Missoula valley.
Over the past few years, Mountain Line has introduced 12 electric vehicles to its fleet and will use the additional funding continue growing that fleet of buses.
“We’re grateful for the leadership and support of Senator Jon Tester in helping us transition to a cleaner fleet, for a healthier, more equitable community that benefits us all,” Mountain Line CEO and General Manager Corey Aldridge said in a statement.
Mountain Line provides zero-fare public transportation to over 1.5 million riders annually.