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'A pretty big deal' | City announces it received federal grant to buy four more electric buses

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RYDE Electric Buses

The City of Racine takes delivery Dec. 2, 2021, of two of nine new Proterra electric buses, six of which are funded by more than $6 million of the $67.1 million awarded to Wisconsin through the Volkswagen Transit Capital Assistance Grant Program after the German carmaker was judged to have violated the Clean Air Act in a scandal tied to diesel emissions testing. The fleet will now be 25% electric. The buses seat 29 passengers, and are expected to go in service next spring after the charging infrastructure is completed.

RACINE — The City of Racine was awarded $3.8 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration Low or No Emission Vehicle Program to buy four additional all-electric buses, Mayor Cory Mason announced during his State of the City address Tuesday evening.

This will bring the total of all-electric battery powered buses in RYDE Racine’s transit fleet to 13, resulting in nearly 40% of the systems fixed-route fleet being zero-emission.

The city was one of only 150 awardees nationwide to receive funding from the program, and the only recipient in Wisconsin. This recently announced award will pay for the replacement of four 2011 diesel buses with more than 450,000 miles driven each.

FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program makes funding available to help transit agencies purchase or lease U.S.-built low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies for transit operations.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.5 billion over five years for the Low-No Program — more than 10 times greater than the previous five years of funding.

Pete Buttigieg headshot


“Funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this announcement means more good jobs for people across the country, cleaner air in our communities, and more affordable and reliable options to help people get to where they need to go,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in U.S. DOT press release announcing the awards on Wednesday.

Mayor Cory Mason


“The City of Racine continues to lead the way in the transition to a cleaner and more efficient mass transit system,” Mason stated. “It is the role of local government to provide essential quality-of-life services to our residents while being innovative and good stewards of taxpayer dollars as well as the environment ... I am proud to have partners in the federal government who recognize our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and who are willing to invest resources into our city to help us achieve our shared climate goals.”

Video Credits:

Erika Bozinovski and Sweatshop Movement

Nicole Toher and Root River Rollers

Amy Hernandez Maack and Gifford School

Joycelyn Fish and the Racine Theatre Guild

Camela Langendorf and Varitay Studios

RYDE Racine Staff and Volunteers

Production Credits:

Produced and Directed by Matt Binetti

Drone Videography by Joshua Newman of NewAerial Photography

Production Assistance by Chino & Crystal Villatoro

Camera Assistant: Travis Miller

Song Licensing provided by Easy Song

Trevor Jung


“RYDE Racine prioritizes quality service, greater savings, and improved sustainability. These zero-emission buses being added to the fleet build on the progress we have made to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality,” stated Transit & Mobility Director Trevor Jung. “Once all 13 zero-emission transit buses have replaced their diesel counterparts, the City of Racine will reduce its carbon footprint by approximately 922 tons annually, and that’s a pretty big deal.”

In previous years, the city received $6.2 million from the Volkswagen Transit Capital Assistance Grant Program and $3,183,723 from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Authority Low or No Emission Vehicle Program for its current fleet of 9 EV buses, related charging infrastructure, and workforce development related to EV bus technology.


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