City awarded $30.8M FTA grant to continue DDOT conversion to clean energy coaches

  • DDOT will purchase 21 new hybrid buses, as well as its first 4 hydrogen fuel-cell coaches, thanks Biden Administration
  • 25 new coaches will replace diesel buses nearing the end of their life span
  • 2 new options, along with 4 current electric buses will let DDOT evaluate technologies


The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) will replace 25 old diesel buses with new clean energy models, thanks to a $30.8 million grant from President Joe Biden’s administration through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  The USDOT Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emissions grant was announced by FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool today at DDOT’s Jason Hargrove Transit Center which opened in May.  

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are creating new opportunities to improve the lives of millions of Americans who rely daily on buses,” said FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool. “These grants will help deliver cleaner and greener transportation, designed to reach everyone, and to work for everyone, particularly in places that haven’t received enough resources in the past.” 

An additional $5 million in match funding provided by Michigan Department of Transportation will bring the total investment to nearly $36 million.  The federal grant and state match funding will allow the city to continue its conversion to cleaner coaches by replacing the 2014 diesel fueled buses with 21 new hybrid New Flyer buses (clean diesel/electric) and DDOT’s first four zero-emissions hydrogen fuel-cell powered coaches and associated refueling infrastructure. Part of the grant funding will also go towards workforce development for operators and mechanics to be trained on new equipment as well as installation of charging & refueling infrastructure in anticipation of further investments into zero-emissions transportation. 

“In everything we do, we are looking at how we can have an impact on climate change and Detroit’s resiliency, and we have a great partner in the Biden administration,” Duggan said. “We are deeply appreciative to the President, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Acting Administrator Vanterpool for supporting our efforts.”  

DDOT currently has four zero-emission electric buses in service and four more on order, thanks to a $6.9 million FTA grant announced in 2022.  That year, DDOT also replaced 28 older model diesel buses with new clean diesel models.  The conversion to a cleaner bus fleet is one of the ways the City of Detroit is becoming a leader in environmental sustainability and climate action.  Last year, the City’s Municipal Parking Department converted its entire fleet of 48 vehicles to electric vehicles and the city currently has a total of 400 electric or hybrid vehicles in its fleet.  

Last month, Mayor Mike Duggan announced the first three neighborhoods that would host a collective 100 acres of solar arrays to help power the city’s 127 municipal buildings, which is being made possible thanks to tax credits for solar available through the President’s Inflation Reduction Act. 

Detroit is a prime location for federal investment in clean energy public transportation under the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to allocate 40% of federal climate investments to disadvantaged communities most impacted by pollution.  

"This significant award from the Federal Transit Agency (FTA) will facilitate the replacement of buses procured in 2014 that are approaching the end of their 12-year useful life and allow DDOT to take a significant step towards its goal of zero emission buses (ZEB)," said Interim Director of Transit G. Michael Staley.

Having hybrid, fully electric and hydrogen fueled buses actively in the City’s bus fleet also will allow DDOT to assess each technology so we can determine which is the best for DDOT in Michigan’s climate.  

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Mayor Duggan thanks the Biden administration for their generosity and partnership.


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FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool presents a $30.8 million grant to DDOT on behalf of the Biden administration.