- APTA applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for hosting a Roundtable on Clean Bus Manufacturing to highlight the nation’s progress in transitioning to low- and zero-emission public transit buses, and to help address challenges facing the U.S. bus manufacturing industry during this transition.
- APTA’s new Bus Manufacturing Task Force, established in October 2023, will present immediate actions to bolster competitiveness and stability in the U.S. bus manufacturing sector to help meet market demand, climate goals, and equity objectives for zero-emission buses (ZEBs).
- The recent pandemic severely impacted the financial viability and competitiveness of U.S. bus manufacturing, leaving only two major manufacturers in the market. Thanks to support from the Biden-Harris Administration, the industry is working diligently to overcome these challenges.
- Transit agencies procure an average of 4,500 heavy duty buses annually and typically pay for buses upon delivery, which can be 24 months or longer from the time an order is placed. ZEBs are more expensive than diesel buses and require a significantly larger cash outlay to support manufacturing.
Washington, D.C. (February 7, 2024) – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) will meet today with the Biden-Harris Administration, including officials from the White House, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and other federal agencies – as well as representatives from suppliers, manufacturers, regional transit agencies, labor groups, and other stakeholders –to address challenges facing the U.S. bus manufacturing industry amidst the industry’s transition to low- and zero-emission buses (ZEBs).
At the White House Roundtable on Clean Bus Manufacturing, APTA will present immediate measures that could be taken to fortify a more competitive and stable domestic bus manufacturing industry. The recommendations, developed by APTA’s Bus Manufacturing Task Force, will help ensure U.S. capacity to manufacture and deliver clean buses at the scale and pace needed to meet market demands and achieve national climate and equity goals while reducing costs for manufacturers and transit agencies.
“We thank the Biden-Harris Administration for collaborating with APTA and its member U.S. transit agencies, bus manufacturers, and bus component suppliers in a critical dialogue to help tackle our industry’s current challenges during its shift toward clean bus manufacturing and deployment in the United States,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “Preserving, protecting and nurturing a highly competitive U.S. bus manufacturing market and building the capacity to transition to low- and zero-emission buses is essential.”
“Our industry is at risk with reduced competition and increasing bus acquisition costs. The result is reduced cash flow for manufacturers and lengthy delays for transit agencies,” Skoutelas said. “This is occurring at the same time that historical and much-appreciated federal investment is available to support public transit’s transition to clean fleets.”
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), invests $5.6 billion to support the purchase of cleaner American-made transit buses, train the transit workforce, and upgrade fueling and maintenance infrastructure.
“Converting to low- and zero-emission buses and building the necessary charging and fueling infrastructure will deliver substantial operational and maintenance savings, make our communities healthier and more equitable, and support national climate goals. But the transition comes with challenges,” Skoutelas added. “Today’s productive discussion with the Biden-Harris Administration and other key partners underscores the critical need for ongoing cooperation around next-generation public transportation to ensure America’s future strength, success, and prosperity.”
To help address immediate cash-flow shortages, the Task Force recommends that transit agencies incorporate three changes in bus contracts: Price adjustments, progress payments, and use of price indices. Other immediate actions that the Task Force recommends include developing a set of bus procurement best practices and exploring ways to reduce customization in bus design, which can increase costs and delay the procurement cycle.
The Task Force also outlined several longer-term approaches to enhancing competition and to funding the transition to zero-emission fleets. To read the full list of recommendations, visit: https://www.apta.com/bus-manufacturing-task-force-recommendations/
The Task Force is led by Dorval R. Carter, Jr., former APTA Chair and President of the Chicago Transit Authority, together with Task Force Vice Chair Richard A. Davey, President of New York City Transit. Task Force members represent a diverse constituency of the public transportation industry.