Laketran receives $1.9 million for electric bus investment

Laketran’s mission of deploying an expanded fleet of alternative-powered vehicles continues to move toward fruition.

The Department of Transportation recently awarded the transit agency $1.9 million to purchase a zero-emission electric transit bus and three charging stations.

According to Laketran, the addition of the charging stations will allow any of their fixed routes buses to run on zero-emission technology.

In 2019, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of Laketran’s investment in electric buses, and helped secure the funds for the grant program as part of the multi-year surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, enacted in 2015.

“Laketran is a leader in adopting new technology that reduces emissions and lowers the cost of providing transit service,” Brown stated in a news release. “This additional investment will help (Laketran) improve service for their riders and help Ohio continue its leadership in developing and deploying the next generation of zero-emission buses.”

The funds are part of the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Program. Brown — who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration — was also the lead Senate democratic negotiator on the public transportation title of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

In August 2018, the Department of Transportation announced a $2.29 million award to assist Laketran with the purchase of two low-emission electric buses and two charging stations that will service Lake County residents.

Last November, the Department of Transportation awarded $4,300,000 to Laketran to purchase battery electric buses and equipment, and to reconstruct one of its Park-and-Ride facilities.

Laketran officials noted these investments will help the agency to become one of the first transit systems in Ohio to have all of its fixed-route local bus service run with zero-emission technology.

“I’d like to the thank Senator Brown for his ongoing encouragement for federal investment in zero-emission transit projects and the FTA for their continued investment in alternative fueled vehicles through their Low-No program,” said Laketran Board President Brian Falkowski. “This grant will allow us to increase our zero-emission fleet size to 10 buses and have the ability to electrify any route within our fixed-routes system.

“Laketran is committed to operating the lowest-polluting and most energy-efficient transit vehicles, and with this award, the majority of our transit buses will be powered by electricity instead of diesel or gasoline by 2021.”