CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — As diesel prices continue to break record highs, Rhode Island’s Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is taking a major step towards a green energy initiative.
Gov. Dan McKee and other state leaders joined RIPTA in Cranston Friday morning to break ground on what will be the state’s first electric bus in-line charging station.
“Projects like this also build on our momentum in ensuring Rhode Island is at the forefront of the green economy,” McKee said. “I thank all of our partners who made this day possible and look forward to seeing the permanent fleet of electric buses on roads across our state.”
The station, which can charge up to the three electric buses simultaneously, will be located along the R-Line, RIPTA’s most frequent and highest-ridership route, connecting Providence and Pawtucket.
It will also feature driver restrooms and various site improvements, including an on-site snow-melt system.
State officials say the electric buses operating on this corridor will lower emissions in an area where many low-income and BIPOC communities have been affected by air pollution.
“It’s great to see RIPTA surging ahead with plans to electrify its bus fleet and leveraging federal investments to make needed infrastructure improvements. The new generation of cleaner, greener buses will reduce pollution and won’t be impacted by foreign oil price shocks,” Sen. Jack Reed said. “I will continue working to deliver federal funding to help RIPTA make a smooth transition to electric buses, install chargers, and upgrade related infrastructure.”
The roughly $6.7 million project is funded largely by a Volkswagen settlement fund, and the reaming funds are coming in from federal transit funding.
The project is expected to be complete by the fall.