Atlanta gets $5.4 million to buy its first electric commuter buses

US Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) announced late today that more than $5.4 million in federal grant funding will be awarded to the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority to purchase electric buses.

Ossoff said in an emailed statement:

We have secured this funding because electrification of Georgia’s public bus fleet is an economic and environmental imperative. These new buses will reduce air pollution and increase the efficiency of transit in Georgia.

The Low-No Program through the Federal Transit Administration provides funding to state and local government authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities.

Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) has 166 coaches in its fleet and no electric buses to date, so new electric buses is a significant milestone.

ATL’s application for federal funding was for 10 battery electric commuter coaches and 11 chargers (including one maintenance facility charger). ATL partnered with MCI, CTE, and Atkins on the application. MCI manufactures the D45 CRTe LE, the only federally tested/approved electric commuter coach currently on the market, according to Dr. Ericka Davis, ATL chief communications officer.

CTE will provide project management, modeling, performance validation, and other technical assistance. Atkins will provide engineering services for infrastructure installation. The EV coaches will be based out of ATL’s South Ops Facility located in Clayton County and will replace 10 model-year 2004 diesel buses.

ATL is also partnering with Georgia Power to make electrical infrastructure upgrades at its Xpress South Operations Facility.

The project will reduce emissions and improve air quality in Fulton, Clayton, and Henry counties.

Chris Tomlinson, executive director at ATL, told Electrek:

We are extremely pleased to have been selected as one of 49 projects awarded. We greatly appreciate the support of our partners at the Federal Transit Administration, and the efforts of the Georgia congressional delegation in our receiving this transformative investment in our transit infrastructure. The ATL was fortunate to also have had the support of numerous state and local leaders, as well as the private sector. 

This grant award will help us improve fleet reliability, reduce our long-term maintenance needs, improve air quality, and reduce noise pollution in the communities we serve. These electric buses will eliminate the need for 87,000 gallons of fuel while reducing 901 tons of carbon emissions. These factors align with four of the ATL’s Governing principles: Environmental Sustainability, Equity, Innovation and Return on Investment – and ensures that our Xpress riders can continue to commute with confidence.

Photo: Joey Kyber/Unsplash

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.