Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader announced a $3.5 million-dollar grant from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that will be used to purchase five electric buses for Salem Area Mass Transit District (SAMTD) as part of the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program.

“I am very pleased that Salem-Keizer Transit was chosen to by the DOT to receive these much-needed funds,” said Schrader.

Schrader wrote a letter of support of this program on behalf of SAMTD to the Department of Transportation on May 8th, 2020.

“I led a letter to the DOT requesting these funds to purchase electric buses to replace five of the agency oldest buses that have been in use for over 15 years,” Schrader said, “These new battery-powered, electric buses will dramatically reduce emissions, lower operating costs and will be far more reliable for Salem area passengers.”

“By replacing our oldest vehicles with our first battery-electric buses, this grant is a monumental step toward enhanced service and modernization of our vehicle fleet,” said SAMTD President Ian Davidson.

Columbia University conducted a study for the New York Transit in 2016 and found that, although initially more expensive, electric buses save money over their lifespan.

“With these funds, we will be able to create an ‘Electric Bus Corridor’ along our longest route to bolster service reliability and improve access to many of our most frequent destinations, while also reducing our carbon footprint,” Davidson said.

The new buses will be used on Route 11 Lancaster Drive, which runs between Keizer and South Salem. This service corridor will be rebranded under the project as the “Electric Bus Corridor,” providing access to major employment, education, and health care destinations including the Mill Creek Business Park and Chemeketa Community College.

“I would like to thank Congressman Schrader for his support in securing the funding to make this project a reality,” Davidson said.

“Transit investments should be a top national priority and I am proud to have worked to secure this much needed funding,” Schrader said.