Durbin Discusses $16.84 Million in Federal Funding for Decatur Public Transit System Electric Fleet Efforts

DECATUR – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited the Decatur Public Transit System (DPTS) to discuss the $16.84 million in federal funding he secured through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Low-No Emissions and Bus Facilities Program for the City of Decatur’s electric fleet efforts. DPTS will use this funding to replace four diesel buses with hybrid buses (with the goal to eventually transition to fully electric), make electrical upgrades to convert a new facility to a bus barn, install solar panels, acquire 25 charging stations, set up a new bus wash bay, and train staff to operate and maintain the new vehicles.

“Since the start of the pandemic, DPTS has been providing free rides to its passengers – many of whom are disabled and live below the poverty line,” said Durbin. “Not only will the modernization of Decatur’s public transportation fleet allow these residents to continue using this critical service, but it will enable a cleaner future and create widespread jobs across the region.”

“We are very grateful to Senator Durbin and Congress for supporting our transition to an all-electric bus fleet,” said Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. “The City continues to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint and this grant keeps the Decatur Public Transit System fleet on track for no emissions by 2035.”

DPTS operates 16 bus routes—with 23 diesel buses and 2 hybrid buses—and a downtown trolley route, which includes two hybrid trolleys.  Since the onset of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, DPTS has been providing free rides, as most of their riders are low-income or disabled individuals. This project is integral to their plan to transition to zero-emissions by 2035, to lower costs to continue providing free and high-quality service to riders.

Decatur will be combining the $16.84 million DOT grant with a local match of $1.3 million inAmerican Rescue Plan (ARP) funding and a state match of $3.76 million from Illinois’ Department of Transportation (IDOT) Rebuild Program to complete the project, bringing the total to about $22 million.

Last year, Durbin supported the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which includes $149 million for Illinois for the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state.