Updated: Apr 11
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Allegheny County's Targeted Airshed Grant for funding, awarding money to directly address environmental and health inequities in the Mon Valley by replacing diesel buses with new ones zero-emission vehicles for Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT).
In a press release Monday, officials said that the $10 million in additional funding from the EPA will allow Allegheny County to lower the emissions PRT buses produce in the Mon Valley. The grant will get the agency closer to the goal of a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2045.
The $10 million grant will be utilized by PRT to replace four 40-foot diesel transit buses. These new buses will serve riders in the Mon Valley area. The grant will also support the purchase and installation of two electric chargers along with the necessary infrastructure in the garage to which the buses would be assigned.
The new zero-emission buses are anticipated to be purchased and put into service in 2026.
Zero-emission buses have been shown to contribute to healthier communities, especially communities that are classified as in high need by environmental justice indexes, like EJScreen or the environmental justice index developed by the Allegheny County Health Department.
The Mon Valley is a major travel corridor. Pittsburgh Regional Transit operates 23 bus routes serving the Mon Valley carrying 52,400 riders on an average weekday. Seven routes operate on PRT's Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway, reducing trip times for riders traveling between Mon Valley communities, Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, and downtown.
Based on data collected and analyzed by the ACHD, PM2.5 emissions from vehicles contribute about 25% of all air pollution in Allegheny County, according to the release.
“This is great news,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “Our neighbors in the Mon Valley grapple with poor air quality more than most, so all efforts to help combat diesel and other emissions can only help improve quality of life for those folks.”