Council committee seeks funding to electrify city transit

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A city council committee took a step toward electrifying Transit Windsor’s fleet on Wednesday by approving a request for federal funding for zero-emission buses and associated planning.

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To address Windsor’s lack of an ‘electrification roadmap’, city government hopes to leverage part of Infrastructure’s $2.75 billion Zero-Emissions Transit Fund Canada. If approved, the grant could cover most of the roadmap planning phase and up to half the cost of electric buses and charging stations.

The city’s standing committee on the environment, transportation and public safety unanimously approved the recommendation to continue the grant, which was created last fall.

“I think we’re all interested in understanding what the implications of trying to electrify the fleet will be,” Coun said. Kieran McKenzie, Committee Member.

“I’m glad there is a funding mechanism from higher levels of government that can help us get there.”

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The city can submit an expression of interest for the grant and, if approved, a full application for funding. Components eligible for funding include planning projects, the costs of which can be covered up to 80%, as well as capital projects, such as buses, charging and refueling infrastructure for up to 50% funding.

Applications will be reviewed by Infrastructure Canada and the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Applying to the fund “is a great opportunity to start charting a course toward electrification of services, including buses and other infrastructure to support electrification,” the administration’s report said. As Transit Windsor does not currently have an electrification roadmap, the city can currently only apply for the planning project funding stream.

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Through an agency that coordinates transportation needs across Ontario, Transit Windsor recently put out a request for quotes to hire a consultant to help develop an electrification roadmap. The RFQ is expected to be awarded in April.

The roadmap project is estimated between $150,000 and $200,000. Grant funding would cover 80% of eligible costs, with the remainder covered by funds from the Transit Master Plan Capital Project. The administration is asking for up to $160,000 “to account for certain contingencies,” leaving up to $40,000 in matching funding for the city.

If the application is successful and a roadmap can be completed, the city could then reapply for a grant under the capital projects stream, but only if funding is still available.

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The Zero-Emission Public Transit Fund, which provides support to transit and school bus operators electrifying their fleets, is also contributing to the federal government’s commitment to help purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses in over the next five years, to build supporting infrastructure (charging stations) and fund facility upgrades.

  1. Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, left, and Assemblyman Irek Kusmierczyk are shown during a news conference in Tecumseh Friday, July 23, 2021. Kusmierczyk announced federal funding of $27,150 to the city to support a service public transport on demand.

    Tecumseh and Leamington launch “on-demand” transit

  2. Examples of vandalism against Windsor bus shelters, documented by Windsor Police from October 2021 to February 2022.

    Windsor Police seek to end bus shelter vandalism

  3. Transit Windsor Executive Director Tyson Cragg speaks at a press conference Wednesday December 1, 2021 regarding investment in operations.

    Mayor highlights millions in Transit Windsor improvements, says 418X route not safe in 2022

Canada’s transportation sector accounts for a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, the administration’s report says. Canada generates approximately 82% of its electricity from zero-emission energy sources. Moving vehicles “towards zero-emission alternatives presents an opportunity for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Approximately 27% of Windsor’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the Transit Windsor fleet.

The city’s current greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is 40% below 2014 levels by 2041. In 2019, a 3.6% increase from the 2014 baseline has been recorded.

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