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Low No Grant Press Conference

September 7, 2022

On Tuesday, September 6, 2022, SEPTA General Manager/CEO Leslie Richards was joined by Senator Casey, Congressman Evans, Associate Administrator Kincaid at SEPTA's Allegheny Bus District to mark an important milestone for SEPTA, our customers, and the communities we serve.

Funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program will allow SEPTA to make important power infrastructure improvements that are critical to our zero-emission vehicle fleet transition goals.

This is one of the largest single infrastructure grants SEPTA has ever received - and it is part of the first group of competitive FTA grants to be awarded from funding authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

We are fortunate to have a strong Congressional delegation that worked to pass this important legislation and provide historic levels of federal investment in zero-emission vehicles.

We thank Senator Casey and Congressman Evans for not only working to fund this critical program but for also supporting our application.

This is an extremely competitive program, and this year - applications requested nearly five times the amount of available funding.

We are grateful to the FTA for their thorough evaluation of SEPTA’s proposal - and thank Associate Administrator Paul Kincaid for making time to be there for the announcement.

SEPTA is committed to converting to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040. 

We are now finalizing the next version of our Zero-Emission Vehicle Master Plan - and this playbook will guide our efforts to put clean, emission-free buses into service throughout the communities we serve.

And we are currently evaluating available technologies to determine which type of zero-emission vehicle is the best fit for our unique operating environment and anticipate starting large scale procurement of zero-emission vehicles in 2026. SEPTA will invest between $105 and $140 million every year between 2026 and 2034 to transition to a zero-emission fleet.

As we have developed our Zero-Emission Vehicle Master Plan, electrical infrastructure hardening and power redundancy have emerged as key imperatives to executing a successful fleet transition. 

This Low No grant will allow SEPTA to modernize electrical infrastructure at three of our bus districts – here at Allegheny and also at Comly and Callowhill – by bringing redundant power feeds to each facility and installing backup generators and electrical substations.

Together, these electrical utility upgrades will ensure that SEPTA can power its future zero-emission fleet in the event of an ordinary or catastrophic power failure.

We're working/partnering with PECO on this initiative going forward.

By converting to zero-emission vehicles, SEPTA will eliminate tailpipe emissions and further reduce total greenhouse gas emissions, but that is only part of SEPTA’s overall sustainability efforts.

Our five-year strategic plan – SEPTA Forward – commits SEPTA to building on transit’s inherent sustainability and pursing opportunities to further reduce emissions. 

Through this holistic approach - SEPTA has among other accomplishments:

  • Entered into a power purchase agreement with a solar farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania

  • Installed three rooftop solar installations at our Fern Rock, Berridge and Callowhill facilities; and

  • Executed a whole-building energy efficiency retrofit to significantly reduce energy use at SEPTA’s headquarters

These efforts aren’t just good for the environment; they are good business. Over the past 10 years - SEPTA’s sustainability initiatives generated nearly $7.5 million in annual revenue and created nearly $28.5 million in recurring savings.

We are pleased to be making these investments for our customers and the communities we serve because we know that transit works best when it works for all!