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New facility, hydrogen fuel cell pilot program coming to RTS

(provided file photo)

The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) will receive $23 million in federal funding for two programs.

A $16 million allotment will go towards the creation of a new facility for the paratransit service, RTS Access, and just over $7 million will be used to launch the Clean Hydrogen Fuel Cell Pilot Program.

The funding — secured by efforts of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Morelle — comes from U.S. Department of Transportation Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant Program.

The new access facility will replace an aging, outdated building that has reached its capacity and is inefficient, legislators say. The new building will house over 100 employees and the 50-plus bus fleet as well as providing vehicle maintenance and storage.

RTS will be one of the first transit systems to launch the hydrogen fuel cell bus pilot. Hydrogen fuel cell buses produce zero emissions, have longer ranger and shorter refueling time than battery-electric buses, and are said to generally perform better in colder weather.

“Rochester just got put in the fast lane for a transportation revolution and this massive federal boost is going accelerate RGRTA to achieve a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2035,” Schumer said in a news release. “This funding will create a state of the art operational hub for RGRTA’s paratransit service and its hundreds of employees that will help streamline service, make sure buses are on time, and now provide riders with a new hydrogen powered bus ride that will help the environment at every stop along the way.”

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