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METROLINK ANNOUNCES $5,000,000 REBUILD ILLINOIS GRANT AWARD FOR CHARGING EXPANSION
Moline, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation has awarded the Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK) $5,000,000 in Rebuild Illinois grant funds, for on-street, overhead vehicle charging equipment at Metro passenger terminals, and for the expansion of charging systems at Metro’s Operations and Maintenance Center to support Metro’s growing fleet of battery electric buses. This funding will allow Metro to provide overhead pantograph chargers at downtown terminals including East Pointe in East Moline, Centre Station in Moline, and District Station in Rock Island. The overhead pantograph chargers will provide an automated “top off” charge in 5-7 minutes to allow for greater vehicle utilization and operating range that will last and entire service day. In addition, the grant funds will allow Metro to expand its current depot charging system at the Operations and Maintenance Center, to allow Metro to charge up to 20 buses simultaneously.
"This Rebuild Illinois grant will help keep MetroLINK on the cutting edge of sustainable transit technology”, said Representative Mike Halpin (D-72nd District). “Public transportation in the Illinois Quad Cities is well-served by increasing our use of electric vehicles. The easier it is to charge and keep these buses on the streets, the more efficiently we can get our residents to work, to school, or to the grocery store. I'm proud to make sure the State of Illinois continues to invest in us here in the Quad Cities."
Additionally, Senator Neil Anderson (R-36th District) noted, “As the need for public transportation continues to grow, this investment will grant MetroLINK the resources it needs to connect communities in an environmentally friendly way throughout the Quad City region,” said State Senator Neil Anderson. “Public transportation plays a vital role in the everyday lives of so many and it is important we diversify the mass transit system to meet the needs for continued growth and access in the future.”
In 2002, Metro began transitioning their fleet to Compressed Natural Gas. Today, 70% of the fleet runs on Compressed Natural Gas. In 2018, Metro introduced battery electric buses to the Illinois Quad Cities, with the current fleet of eight (8) expanding to seventeen (17) this April.
“With 30% of our fleet soon running on battery electric, these funds come at an especially critical time as we look to increase our battery electric bus footprint in an effort to promote environmental responsibility”, said Berlinda Tyler-Jamison, Chair, MetroLINK Board of Trustees. “Sustainability has been a strategic priority for our Board of Trustees for over two decades, and I am thankful to Governor Pritzker, Transportation Secretary Osman, and our local elected officials for recognizing the importance of supporting electric vehicle fleets in public transit.”
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