Ontario Construction News staff writer
The government of Canada is contributing $350 million to purchase 350 electric buses and build charging infrastructure in Ottawa.
The new electric buses will replace current diesel-powered buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance OC Transpo’s mission to operate a fully zero-exhaust-emission bus fleet by 2036.
The city will install the required charging infrastructure, build a new vehicle storage facility, upgrade two existing ones and purchase other related infrastructure to maintain and operate the battery electric buses.
“Any investment in public transit in Ottawa is an investment in the environment. With the new funding for our zero-emissions bus program, the government of Canada is contributing to these shared and critical priorities. These new buses will help OC Transpo continue its work towards reducing greenhouse gases and convert our fleet to zero-emission electric fuel,” said Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.
The first of four zero-emission buses hit the road in early 2022, about six months after the Ottawa city council approved the transit provider’s plan to procure solely zero-emission buses, with the goal of having a fully zero-emission fleet by 2036. The city of Ottawa aims to deliver a 100 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
The federal funding is in addition to a loan of up to C$380 million (US$294.71 million) from the Canada Infrastructure Bank to the city in support OC Transpo’s planned procurement of 450 zero-emission buses.
Council will consider the budget authority requests to begin the procurement of buses supported by the most recent federal funding and related charging infrastructure at a meeting on Jan. 25.
“Continued prosperity in the 21st century will depend on our ability to innovate and respond to the climate crisis. Canadian cities are rethinking their infrastructure needs to support a growing population with increasing transit needs,” said Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier.
Federal funding comes from the $2.75-billion zero-emission transit fund that is now accepting applications for planning and capital projects to electrify school transportation and public transit systems, including the purchase of zero emission buses and related infrastructure. The fund is co-ordinated with the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s $1.5 billion commitment for zero emission buses as part of its three-year growth plan.