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SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, joined Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) Administrator Sandra Sheehan to celebrate the awarding of a $54 million Federal Transit Authority (FTA) grant to the PVTA. The grant comes from the FTA’s low- and no-emission and bus/bus facilities grant programs.

“Thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, the PVTA will be able to continue their mission of providing high-quality transportation services while ensuring it is done in an environmentally conscious manner,” Neal said. “Congratulations to Sandra Sheehan and her team for this tremendous award.”

Sheehan added that, “as PVTA focuses on reducing emissions and addressing the needs of the environment, we are overjoyed to receive this low/no grant to continue our path toward electrifying our fleet.

Funding will be used to purchase four battery-electric buses along with the infrastructure to maintain the electric vehicles and the associated workforce-development training, she explained.

“We are extremely grateful for the support we received and the opportunity to expand upon projects that reduce energy consumption and increase access to clean, efficient mass transit,” Sheehan went on. “In addition, BBF funds have been awarded to repair and upgrade the bus bays at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Bus Maintenance Facility, which will improve the safety, service capacity, and reliability of PVTA’s buses to help meet demand.”

Added Sarno, “thanks to Congressman Richard Neal, who once a mayor always the heart of a mayor, the PVTA is being awarded this $54 million FTA grant funding to go green by reducing emissions by eliminating gasoline-powered buses and replacing them with electric buses. With the PVTA servicing our Springfield community, I am pleased that this PVTA green initiative supports my administration’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan by utilizing green-energy initiatives and programs to reduce our carbon footprint and enhance the infrastructure needed to maintain these new vehicles.”