Sherrod Brown

09/13/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/13/2017 15:53

Brown Announces $1.75 Million for Stark Area Regional Transit Authority to Expand Its Zero-Emission Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Fleet

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) $1,750,000 to purchase two additional zero-emission fuel cell buses. This purchase will build on SARTA's fleet, which third largest fuel cell fleet in the country.

'Stark County is a national leader in innovative transportation solutions that get Ohioans to work or school, while reducing pollution,' said Brown. 'It's good news that SARTA's rapidly growing zero-emission bus program will add to its fleet and help reduce emissions in public transportation.'

'This grant will allow us SARTA to increase our total fuel cell fleet to 13 making Canton, Ohio one of the largest fuel cell fleets in the world,' said Kirt Conrad, SARTA CEO. 'I want to thank FTA and Senator Brown for helping us become a leader in zero emissions vehicles.'

This investment builds on the more than $4 million SARTA received in April 2016 to add three buses, and the more than $8.8 million awarded to SARTA in February 2015 to purchase five buses through the Low or No Emission Deployment Program and earlier federal funding for the initial two vehicles. Using hydrogen fuel cell buses as their power source, rather than diesel, makes these buses more energy efficient, reducing dependency on foreign oil, and cutting down on emissions. In March 2014, Brown wrote a letter to then FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, urging him to give SARTA's proposal full and fair consideration. Brown toured the facility this spring and provided support to the other two grants.

Brown - who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the Federal Transit Administration - has championed federal investment in zero-emission buses. During Senate consideration of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act last year, Brown worked to double federal investment in zero-emission projects in public transit. He was also instrumental in obtaining a Zero Emissions Testing grant for The Ohio State University.

In 2009, Brown helped secure $1 million for Stark State College to upgrade the clean room at the school's Fuel Cell Prototyping Center. That project brought critical fuel cell technology innovation to Ohio, providing students with first-hand training opportunities to advance and commercialize a one-megawatt, solid-oxide fuel cell. In Oct. 2012, Brown wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary urging DOE's continuation of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell program.