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Billings MET Transit awarded grant to purchase electric buses

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 18, 2022

BILLINGS — The city of Billings is trying to go greener, and this includes four new electric buses that will replace four older diesel buses within the MET Transit. It’s one of many efforts the city is making to become more energy efficient.

You see them all around town, but soon four of the city’s buses will look a little different.

“The transit industry honestly has been moving towards electrics for 15 years,” said the city of Billings Transit Manager, Rusty Logan, on Thursday.

The city has received more than $3 million in grants to make the change. Billings was one of 150 projects chosen from across the country out of 530 applications.

“That grant does include funding for charging infrastructure so upgrades to our facilities here to put in a couple chargers to keep those up and running,” Logan said.

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Billings isn’t alone: many cities are transitioning to electric. Here in Montana, Missoula’s Montana Line Bus Service just received a $10 million grant to help the company add 10 more electric buses to the 12 they currently own.

The goal is to reduce carbon emissions and improve service.

“We’re looking at increasing frequency and hours of service with that,” said Logan.

MET Transit held its last public transit development plan project meeting at the library Thursday evening to talk with the public about their five-year plan.

The buses aren’t the only effort Billings has made to go greener in recent years.

“2020 and 2021, I think we did 28 energy efficiency projects,” said Billings Public Works Water Quality Superintendent Louis Engels.

A lot of those included LED lighting upgrades throughout city facilities, like fire stations, the library, parking garages, city hall, and much more.

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The dump is even energy efficient. Public Works has had a partnership with MDU at the landfill since 2008.

“We reuse the methane that comes off the landfill. We use it as renewable gas and put it into their pipeline,” Engels said.

These are just a handful of the 112 energy-efficient projects the city has completed to become more sustainable.