Funding will support replacement of METRO BREEZ express buses between Brunswick, Freeport, Portland, and Yarmouth
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Greater Portland Transit District (METRO) has received a total of $1,887,000 to purchase four new buses. This funding was administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Buses and Bus Facilities Grant Program. Senator Collins wrote a letter in support of the project.
METRO will use the funding to purchase four heavy duty 35-foot buses to replace its aging express bus fleet for METRO BREEZ, which launched in 2017 and provides bi-directional service between Brunswick, Freeport, Portland, and Yarmouth. BREEZ generates an annual ridership of 73,461 passengers on average, which exceeds METRO’s projections by more than 60 percent.
“Maine’s public transportation systems provide good-paying jobs and are critical for those who rely on bus services to travel to and from work, school, health care appointments, grocery stores, and pharmacies,” said Senator Collins. “Since 2017, METRO BREEZ has provided an affordable, reliable, and environmentally friendly transportation option for residents of Southern Maine. This funding will help build on the program’s success and ensure it continues to be a convenient connection for Mainers traveling to and from Portland.”
METRO operates fixed-route bus service in the communities of Brunswick, Falmouth, Freeport, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, and Yarmouth with connections to local and regional transit systems.
Replacement of the METRO BREEZ fleet is the next step in the transit system’s commitment to operate a zero-emission fleet by 2040 by utilizing modern diesel buses with state-of-the-art emission controls. The transit system is currently piloting battery-electric buses, and once the pilot proves reliable, it intends to expand its fleet and replace traditional fossil-fueled vehicles wherever possible.
The Buses and Bus Facilities Grant Program makes federal resources available to states and direct recipients to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities including technological changes or innovations to modify low or no emission vehicles or facilities. This FTA grant program was funded through the Fiscal Year 2021 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill that was signed into law in December 2020.