Washington, D.C.– The City of Tucson today received a $5 million grant from the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) to replace approximately 15 Sun Tran buses with modern vehicles. The grant comes through DOT’s State of Good Repair Program, which began in May.
The average age of the city’s bus fleet is just over seven years, according to Sun Tran officials, and some buses have been with the city as long as 16 years. The new grant will help the city, which owns Sun Tran, begin the process of applying for new bus deliveries, which typically take 12 to 18 months.
The city put 65 new buses on the road in 2008 and another 25 in 2009, according to Sun Tran information.
According to a July study by DOT’s Federal Transit Administration, it will cost approximately $77.7 billion to upgrade the nation’s rail and bus systems to properly working order. The study found that about 40 percent of the nation’s buses are in “poor to marginal” condition, a shortfall highlighted by the $4.2 billion in requests DOT received for the $775 million allocated to the State of Good Repair program, which also covers rail transit systems.
Tucson won the competitively awarded grant by demonstrating the City’s need and its ability to put the funds to use quickly and effectively.
Updating the city’s bus system “will help in more ways than one,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva said in congratulating the city on the award. “Saving money on maintenance, fuel efficiency and lower pollution levels will mean a better year for taxpayers and more customer satisfaction for everyone. This is what it looks like when we reinvest in American infrastructure: better products, more long-term savings, more jobs and demand for goods and services. Cities around the country are asking for just this kind of assistance, as the application figures show, and we need to meet that demand wherever possible.”