The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved a grant application for five low- or no-emission trolley-style buses in Jonesboro, the city announced on Aug. 16.
The grant was approved for $878,584 and includes a 15% match by the city of Jonesboro. The city was one of 150 cities approved out of 530 nationwide applications and the only city from Arkansas selected.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver said the funding will help the city’s long-term Jonesboro Economical Transit (JET) program transition to future fuel opportunities.
“This is a victory for the long-term future of Jonesboro,” Copenhaver said. “Hybrid vehicles will become critical in the not too distant future, and we want to improve not only the quality but the appearance of our JET fleet.”
Grants and Community Development Director Regina Burkett and staff in the grants department applied for the funding last spring after noticing opportunities from the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) to put money towards new emission-reduction technologies.
According to the FTA, the funding provided to Jonesboro will “replace older diesel buses and help improve air quality for riders throughout the city.”
In fiscal year 2022, FTA programs will provide $1.66 billion in grants to transit agencies, territories and states across the country to invest in bus fleets and facilities. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the majority of funded projects will use zero-emissions technology, which reduces air pollution and helps meet the country’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
To support the transportation industry as it transitions to technologies that will reduce emissions, the FTA is also providing funding for transit agencies to help retrain existing workers and recruit and train new workers.
JET provides public transit services in Jonesboro and has operated a fixed-route public bus system since May 2006.