Modesto accepts grant for electric buses

Modesto could have four electric buses quietly rolling along city streets by the end of 2017.

The City Council on Tuesday accepted a $4.085 million California Air Resources Board grant to purchase the zero-emission electric buses and their charging stations. The total project will cost $6.2 million, with the balance of the funding coming from state and federal sources, according to a city report.

The buses cost about $750,000 each. The project’s other costs include building and installing four overnight charging stations at the city’s bus maintenance facility and two fast-charging stations at the downtown transportation center, according to a city report.

Modesto would purchase the buses from a Bay Area-based company called Proterra, which makes zero-emission electric battery buses. The company website says Proterra’s transit customers include Seattle, Reno, Dallas and Nashville, as well as Stockton and Porterville in the San Joaquin Valley.

Modesto Transit Manager Adam Barth said the buses should be on the streets by the end of 2017. He said it will take time to manufacture the buses and build and install the charging stations.

The $4.085 million grant is contingent upon Modesto accepting the grant, which the council did Tuesday, and committing to the grant’s requirements and coming up with the $2.13 million in matching funds, which the city has identified.

In other action at Tuesday’s meeting, the council:

▪  Gave its second and final approval of the city’s $361 million operating budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which started Friday.

▪  Approved reconvening the city’s comprehensive fees task force to review development fees as well as provide input on an update of the city’s capital facilities fees, which are paid by new development to pay primarily for roads but also parks and public safety facilities. The task force is expected to start meeting in September or October, with its work taking about a year. The city last reviewed its development fees about a half-dozen years ago. Any changes the task force recommends would have to be approved by the council.

▪  Recognized airport Manager Mark Germanowski, Operations Manager Steve Fischio and airport staff for passing the Federal Aviation Administration’s annual certification inspection.

▪  Approved angled parking along the west side of Eighth Street between H and I streets. Crescent Work & Outdoors requested the change so it would have more street parking for its customers and others.