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LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A $10.5 million federal grant will enable CityBus to continue its investment in hydrogen fuel cell buses while implementing needed infrastructure improvements.

The grant, from the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facility Grant and Low- and Zero-Emission Vehicles programs, is part of a roughly $1.5 billion grant program to support and improve public transit in 47 states, according to a news release. Over the past three years, the FTA has spent nearly $5 billion to replace and modernize transit buses on America’s roads.

“We are very pleased to receive this additional grant from the Federal Transit Administration,” said Bryan D. Smith, CEO of CityBus, in the press release. “This grant will further advance our long-standing commitment to providing environmentally friendly transportation services to the Greater Lafayette community.”

The $10.5 million grant comes after FTA awarded CityBus $7.6 million in June 2023 as part of the previous series of funding announcements for low- and zero-emission vehicle grants.

“By using hydrogen technology, we are continuing our tradition of positively impacting air quality in our community and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Smith said.

The FTA grants will continue funding for state-of-the-art hydrogen buses, the press release said. Part of the funds will be used to develop the necessary infrastructure to support the new buses, such as hydrogen refueling stations and maintenance facility upgrades, as well as training programs for CityBus employees.

CityBus said in the press release that the company expects the first round of hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses to be in operation in spring 2025.

Bryan Walck, customer experience manager at CityBus, said the new buses arriving in 2025 were purchased with the help of the 2023 grant and that these types of vehicles are not normally available for immediate purchase.

“It takes a while for these to get to us,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have them in stock.”

In addition to the new buses, CityBus will also prepare its administrative facility on Canal Road for the hydrogen fuel cell buses, Walck said. The municipality currently has diesel and natural gas refueling stations there for its current buses. With the arrival of the newer buses, only one hydrogen refueling station is currently needed, Walck explained.

“A single filling station is enough to fuel several buses,” Walck said. “With battery-powered electric buses, you usually need multiple filling stations, but with hydrogen, that doesn’t work. We may expand our hydrogen filling stations in the future as we add more buses.”

Jillian Ellison is a reporter for the Journal and Courier. Email her at [email protected]. Follow her on X at @ellison_writes.