June 23, 2023

Reed, Whitehouse & Magaziner Deliver $13.5 M to Expand RIPTA Bus Service & Grow Its Hybrid Electric Bus Fleet

WASHINGTON, DC – The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is charging ahead to a cleaner energy future and accelerating efforts to enhance its public transit network thanks to $13.5 million in new federal funding secured by U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Seth Magaziner.

This week, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation helped secure $8,492,000 through a federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant to allow RIPTA to accelerate plans for an expanded Rapid Bus Network.  The delegation also delivered a new $5 million federal Low and No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle grant to help RIPTA expand its fleet of new hybrid electric buses.

“RIPTA helps people get where they need to go and is an economic driver for the state.  This new federal funding will help RIPTA plan for the future and better connect riders and communities while growing its fleet of hybrid buses.  These wise federal investments will help save money, reduce pollution, and improve air quality,” said Senator Reed, who serves on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which authorizes federal funds for mass-transit.  He is also on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), which appropriates federal funding for mass transit.  “I am committed to delivering federal resources that will help steer us toward a cleaner energy future with less pollution and more convenient and efficient public transportation options.”

“These federal investments will expand RIPTA service in the Ocean State and grow its hybrid fleet,” said Senator Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  “I am pleased to secure funding that makes Rhode Island’s public transportation more accessible and moves us towards a clean energy future.”

“Countless Rhode Islanders depend on public transit to travel from place to place, and with this federal investment, we’re helping riders get to their destination quickly and safely while reducing harmful air pollution,” said Representative Magaziner. “It’s a win for our communities, a win for clean air, and a win for Rhode Island!”

“This $13.5 million in federal funding secured by Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Magaziner will further help RIPTA’s commitment to expand bus service, as well as help mitigate climate change and ultimately contribute to a zero-emissions future,” said RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian. “Electrifying our fleet and expanding service is vital to making public transportation an obvious, affordable and reliable choice over single occupancy vehicles as it relates to environmental equity. We are grateful to Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and Congressman Magaziner, as they continue to show steadfast support for public transportation.”

The $8.5 million RAISE grant will allow RIPTA to conduct the necessary planning, project development, and engineering for an expanded Rapid Bus Network. The expanded Rapid Bus Network would provide enhanced high-capacity, reliable bus services to and from Providence and other urban areas with high-ridership demands, improving transit times and reliability, supporting community mobility, and allowing for greater, more affordable connectivity between communities and areas of economic opportunity.

Rhode Islanders will also be seeing more hybrid buses on the roads thanks to this new wave of federal funding.

The federal Low and No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Grant Program supports transit agencies in purchasing or leasing low- or no-emission buses and other transit vehicles that use advanced technologies such as battery electric or fuel-cell power to provide cleaner, more energy efficient transit service in communities across the country. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $5.5 billion for the Low-No Emissions Grant Program, available through fiscal year 2026. And, last year, Senator Reed successfully led a bipartisan effort to add an additional $50 million to the program.

RIPTA currently operates a fleet of nearly 250 fixed route vehicles, including 33 hybrid vehicles, and soon 14 of New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE NG electric buses, which are made in Alabama.  The public transit agency also invested $6.7 million in a new charging station at the stop on Broad Street. 

Last summer, the state’s Congressional delegation helped secure a $22.37 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant to electrify Aquidneck Island’s bus service.

Chip Unruh (Reed), (202) 224-4642

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), (202) 224-2921

James Kwon (Magaziner), (202) 951-0315

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921