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Transportation Labor Applauds Historic Federal Investment in Clean Transit Workforce Training

By Admin

WASHINGTON – Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, issued this statement in response to the Federal Transit Administration’s announcement of $1.6 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law transit funding, including $43.4 million for transit worker training on zero-emission buses: 

“The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) announcement of $43.4 million in workforce development funding, courtesy of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a radical and welcomed shift in how the federal government supports the workforce development needs of frontline transit workers. For the first time, five percent of funding for zero emission buses will be used to train transit workers on how to maintain and operate new clean bus technology. 

“Transportation labor has long highlighted the dire consequences of underinvesting in the workforce needs of our public transportation sector. More recently, we highlighted the serious job displacement effects that loom as transit systems across the country convert their fleets from diesel-powered buses to more efficient alternatives, including battery electric buses. 

“This historic investment in workforce training will support or create millions of good union jobs and promote apprenticeships and other joint labor-management training programs for transit maintenance workers. Together, the $1.66 billion investment in 1,800 low and no-emission buses built by workers in America and the $43.4 million investment in the workforce is a clear demonstration of how the Biden Administration values the lives and livelihoods of working people.

“We worked closely with Leader Schumer and Senator Brown to ensure investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that bring about technological change, such as battery electric buses, are paired with job training that make certain the transit workforce keeps pace with that change. 

“We thank Secretary Buttigieg and Administrator Fernandez for prioritizing applicants who clearly demonstrated their desire to invest not only in the clean transit systems of the future, but also in the future of our transit workforce. 

“As these funds are distributed, it is paramount that transit agencies work closely with their frontline workers, as well as partners like the FTA and the Transit Workforce Center, to guarantee that every cent of the $43.4 million is spent in a way that truly meets the training needs of America’s transit workers.” 


The bus grant awards – made under FTA’s Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission Vehicle programs – are FTA’s first competitive grant selections under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The programs support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expand our nation’s transportation infrastructure, create and maintain good-paying jobs, and fight climate change.

FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-built low- or no-emission vehicles, including related equipment or facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.5 billion over five years for the Low-No Program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding. For Fiscal Year 2022, approximately $1.1 billion was available for grants under this program.

FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program supports transit agencies in buying and rehabilitating buses and vans and building bus maintenance facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly $2 billion over five years for the program. For Fiscal Year 2022, approximately $550 million for grants was available under this program.

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