DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Decatur’s buses are going green.
The city is switching from those that run on diesel to hybrid ones and eventually to electric vehicles.
Decatur received more than $16 million in money from the U.S. Department of Transportation to make the switch. That means making changes to the public transit facility’s infrastructure.
“The City continues to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint and this grant keeps the Decatur Public Transit System fleet on track for no emissions by 2035,” Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe said.
Changes include installing electric charging stations for the buses, adding solar panels to power those stations, and a new bus wash to clean the electric vehicles.
The plan would also require downsizing Decatur’s fleet to use 30-foot buses instead of 35-foot buses, as well as adding passenger vans. One worker for the city of Decatur said smaller vehicles are optimal for routes closer to more people.
“There are a lot of places that the fixed-route buses can’t go because of their size.” Lacie Elzy, Decatur’s Transit Administrator said. “The smaller the vehicle, the further into the neighborhoods we can get them.”
Decatur Deputy City Manager John Kindseth said this will also impact Decatur’s economy.
“This is an investment in our facility,” Kindseth said, “which means that local contractor’s local workforce are going to be the biggest beneficiary of all of this money that’s going to be invested to build out the infrastructure that we need for tomorrow.”
Senator Dick Durbin took a tour of the facility on Tuesday. He helped secure the money for the state.
The City of Decatur plans to have a fully electric fleet of buses, or vehicles that don’t release any emissions, by 2035.