The Agency of Natural Resources has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Vermont’s new electric school and transit bus pilot program. The RFP is the next step in launching the pilot program. Results from the program will allow the state to determine whether this technology can be applied more broadly across Vermont.
“Heavy-duty electric vehicle technology is still relatively new and little information exists as to how these types of buses will perform in Vermont,” said Heidi Hales with the Agency’s Air Quality and Climate Division. “Because we have extremely cold winters, miles of dirt roads, and some challenging terrain, we’ll use the pilot program to gather critical data and engage in problem-solving to determine how these technologies may be most effectively deployed in Vermont.”
Funding for the pilot program is part of the $18.7 million Vermont received from the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust fund. The fund was created after VW cheated motor vehicle emission standards by allowing diesel vehicles that they manufacture to emit excess nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the air. Vermont has 10 years to request its allocation and implement mitigation actions. The VW Mitigation Trust Agreement lays out very specific parameters for how the funds can be used. The $18.7 million can be put toward:
- repowering or replacing certain heavy-duty diesel trucks, buses, and locomotives,
- repowering certain marine vessels,
- repowering or replacing certain forklifts and airport ground support equipment,
- installing electric recharging and/or hydrogen refueling infrastructure for light-duty zero-emission vehicles.
Last winter, the state asked the public to weigh in on the best way to use this money. In addition to widespread public support for installing electric vehicle charging stations, for which Vermont recently announced the launch of Vermont’s new Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grant Program, many Vermonters called for replacing old school and transit buses with new electric models.
“Vermonters voiced their resounding support for electrifying our cars and trucks. Electrification is a critical step to lowering air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Vermont,” said Department of Environmental Commissioner Emily Boedecker. “This pilot program will help to drive this transformation in the public transit sector and provide important data and lessons for continued investments in electric technologies moving forward.”
The Agency of Natural Resources released a Request for Information (RFI) in May 2018 to identify the important factors that should be considered in the design of this electric bus pilot program. Based in part on the responses to the RFI, a report on a recent deployment of electric school buses in Massachusetts, and other resources, the call for RFPs is the next step before launching the electric school and transit bus pilot program in fiscal year 2019.
The RFP is not for the selection of vehicle or equipment vendors or Project Partners related to this program. Rather, the purpose is to select a proposal for the administration and implementation of the pilot program for the pilot period, and to facilitate coordination between all parties involved. Administering the program would entail working with the Agency to select project partners, monitor the deployment of electric buses participating in the pilot, and compile a report on the outcome of the pilot.
Proposals are due November 16, 2018. For more information about this opportunity and to view the RFP, please visit the Vermont Business Assistance Network website.
This program is a partnership between the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Housing and Community Development, Agency of Transportation, Department of Buildings and General Services, Department of Health and the Public Service Department.