February 7, 2024 

APTA Task Force Releases Recommendations to Strengthen U.S. Bus Manufacturing 

ATLANTA – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is meeting today with White House and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) officials to address challenges facing the U.S. bus manufacturing industry amidst the industry’s transition to low- and zero-emission buses. Collie Greenwood, General Manager and CEO of MARTA, joins other transit agency leaders at the White House.   

The recent pandemic impacted the financial viability and competitiveness of U.S. bus manufacturing, leaving only two major manufacturers in the market. APTA presented immediate measures that could be taken to fortify a more competitive and stable domestic bus manufacturing industry. The recommendations, developed by APTA’s Bus Manufacturing Task Force, underscore the urgent need for federal support to ensure U.S. capacity to manufacture and deliver clean buses at a scale and pace needed to meet market demands and achieve national climate and equity goals while reducing costs. 

The FTA today is meeting the challenge for more federal support, announcing the opportunity to apply for approximately $1.10 billion in competitive grants under the fiscal year 2024 Low or No Emission Grant Program and approximately $390 under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. 

“Thank you to the White House, the FTA, and APTA for inviting MARTA to participate in this important discussion,” said Greenwood. “As we transition to low- and zero-emission bus fleets, the Task Force’s work has helped us better understand the business as a whole and how we can work together to make bus manufacturing more sustainable in the long-term. In fact, MARTA is now working closely with our manufacturing partners to investigate procurement contract terms such as milestone payments to help them address their cash flow challenges.” 

“We thank the White House and FTA for collaborating with APTA and its member U.S. transit agencies, bus manufacturers, and bus component suppliers in a critical dialogue to help tackle our industry’s current challenges during its shift toward clean bus manufacturing and deployment in the United States,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “Preserving, protecting and nurturing a highly competitive U.S. bus manufacturing market and building the capacity to transition to low- and zero-emission buses is essential.”

APTA's Bus Manufacturing Task Force recommends immediate actions to bolster competitiveness and stability in the U.S. bus manufacturing sector to help meet market demand, climate goals and equity objectives for zero-emission buses. The Task Force is led by Dorval R. Carter, Jr., former APTA Chair and President of the Chicago Transit Authority, together with Task Force Vice Chair Richard A. Davey, President of New York City Transit. Task Force members represent a diverse constituency of the public transportation industry.  

To help address immediate cash-flow shortages, the Task Force recommends that transit agencies incorporate three changes in bus contracts: price adjustments, progress payments, and use of price indices. Other immediate recommended actions include developing a set of bus procurement best practices and exploring ways to reduce customization in bus design, which can increase costs and delay the procurement cycle. 

The Task Force outlines several longer-term approaches to enhancing competition and funding the transition to zero-emission fleets. To read the full list of recommendations, visit apta.com. 

For years, MARTA has been transitioning away from diesel-powered vehicles and is committed to using electric buses on all its bus rapid transit (BRT) routes.  

In 2023, MARTA agreed to a five-year $226 million contact with New Flyer for the purchase of 45 battery electric and 135 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. Federal funds from Sen. Jon Ossoff, with support from Sen. Raphael Warnock, and Federal Transit Administration’s Low and No Emissions grants will support the electric bus purchases. The contract also includes an option to purchase fuel-cell powered buses as hydrogen is explored by regional leaders. 

MARTA first introduced a CNG bus from New Flyer in 1996 and began to transition the fleet from diesel to CNG in 2005. As of FY24, MARTA’s active bus fleet consists of 514 buses, including 345 CNG, 163 diesel, and 6 battery electric. MARTA saw a 33 percent increase in overall fuel efficiency of its bus fleet from 2012 to 2023. 





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