VIA to receive $3 million from transportation grant, will replace vehicles with ‘greener’ buses

Congressmen Joaquin Castro, Greg Casar helped to secure the funding

VIA (Adobe Stock)

SAN ANTONIO – VIA Metropolitan Transit will be phasing out older models of its VIAtrans buses for more ‘greener,’ environmental-friendly vehicles thanks to a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The 3-million-dollar grant from the FTA will help the VIA Metropolitan Transit begin to replace 15 of its fleet’s gasoline-powered paratransit vehicles with low-emission propane-powered vans.

The grant is part of the FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program.

U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Greg Casar (TX-35) assisted VIA in applying for funding, and $3,197,000 was secured which will cover a “vast majority” of the $3,984,000 vehicle-replacement project, a press release said.

The vehicles VIA is replacing are 2017 models with an average total mileage exceeding 165,000, beyond the FTA’s useful-life requirements.

Additionally, the funding will help VIA continue to provide vitally important transportation services for people with disabilities while maintaining VIA’s commitment to environmentally-conscious mobility in the region.

“For decades, VIA has been a national leader in transit accessibility for people with disabilities,” Castro said. “This new funding from the FTA will help expand VIA’s fleet of low-emission paratransit vehicles, protecting our clean air and improving the rider experience for VIAtrans customers.”

VIA is a member of the FTA’s Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge.

The company has taken bold, actionable steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning from gasoline to cleaner burning fuels such as CNG, electric and propane, a press release states.

“San Antonio’s public transit system will soon include new and better vans for riders with disabilities,” Casar said. “We’re bringing these federal dollars back home to Texas, so we can better serve the thousands of San Antonians who rely on public transportation every day.”

VIA will use the grant money to help the company meet rider demands and to lessen its environmental footprint.

“VIA has converted its fleet of buses to cleaner and ‘greener’ as part of its multi-year plan to significantly reduce vehicle emissions, decrease operating costs, and allow the agency to carry out planned service enhancements,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said.

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About the Author:

Mason Hickok is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, walking his dogs and listening to podcasts.