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Federal Transit Administration Recognizes Transit Agencies for Reducing their Environmental Footprint, Tackling Climate Change

Monday, April 22, 2024

As part of Earth Day, FTA Celebrates Work that Helps Achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s Clean Energy Goals

WASHINGTON – As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's celebration of Earth Day, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today recognized transit agencies that are taking innovative approaches to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These transit agencies participate in FTA's Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Climate Challenge, which encourages transit leaders to take bold actions and prioritize investments to help tackle the climate crisis.  

Nearly 240 transit agencies from Maine to Hawaii are participating in the Climate Challenge. Today, FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool recognized three of them as Champions of the Challenge due to their innovative efforts to reduce GHGs and increase resilience through forward-thinking policies, proactive planning, and stakeholder engagement:

  • Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California, analyzed emissions forecasts and vulnerability assessments, which resulted in 33 GHG reduction strategies and 14 climate adaptation measures. VTA aims to increase resilience to climate risks and become carbon neutral by 2045.
  • The Maryland Transit Administration developed a climate action plan with detailed strategies to reduce GHGs. The agency also focused on adaptation and resiliency tools to improve preparedness and protection of transit assets.
  • Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) in Colorado, the largest rural transit system in America, engaged stakeholders and analyzed methods to inform their strategy for a comprehensive climate action plan. RFTA's efforts are designed to support their goal of transitioning to a 100% electric fleet by 2050.

"Transit agencies nationwide are using innovative and collaborative approaches to greening their fleets, upgrading infrastructure, and transitioning their workforces to maximize climate resilience for our communities," Vanterpool said. "While transit is the most sustainable mode of travel, we still have an opportunity to lessen our climate footprint and improve the health and well-being of our communities."

Created in June 2021 to help advance President Biden’s GHG reduction goals, FTA's Climate Challenge calls on transit agencies to develop strategies to reduce emissions, such as converting fleets to electric buses, making facilities more energy efficient, and generating power through renewable energy sources. Soon after taking office, President Biden announced the Administration's goal for the United States to achieve a 50% reduction in net GHG pollution by 2030.

Since the program began in 2021, FTA has provided technical support and fostered knowledge-sharing among transit agencies through listening sessions and peer exchanges on research and innovation to support sustainability. 

FTA encourages transit agencies interested in advancing their sustainability and climate goals to use resources shared on the FTA's Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet webpage. The site provides webinar recordings, guidelines for climate action planning, and technical assistance.