The NFTA might get two dozen new, clean buses under a new federal grant program, if Sen. Charles Schumer has his way.
Metro Bus has an aging fleet which cost more than average to maintain and the authority can't afford to get rid of older buses and replace them with the latest vehicles,which are more handicap accessible and environmentally-friendly.
The fleet is 20% older than the national average and at any time, 50 buses are out of service. That leads to delays, cancelations and higher maintenance costs.
Schumer, who held a press conference at the downtown bus loop Thursday, says there are federal dollars to buy new natural gas-fueled buses.
"An aging bus fleet is a safety hazard and an economic hazard. When the buses break down, the NFTA only has two choices, neither of them good. Option A: raise fares to buy new buses. Option B: downsize the fleet. Neither one of those is good, but now, we have Option C: apply for this new federal grant," Schumer said.
The new buses would cost in the area of $12 million and would come from a manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh. Schumer says it's part of a push in Washington to put new federal dollars into areas of need, like transportation.