VIA Metropolitan Transit has been awarded more than $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration under its Low or No Emission Vehicle Program. The grant will fund the replacement of 15 gasoline-powered paratransit vehicles with low-emission propane-powered vans.

U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35) were instrumental in VIA’s application for funding in the fiscal year 2023 program, securing $3,197,000, which will cover the vast majority of the $3,984,000 vehicle-replacement project.

VIAtrans rider

VIAtrans is a shared-ride, curb-to-curb service option for customers who cannot utilize regular bus service because of a disability.

VIA will replace 15 vehicles – 2017 models with average mileage exceeding 165,000, which is beyond the FTA’s useful-life requirements.

“For decades, VIA has been a national leader in transit accessibility for people with disabilities. This new funding from the FTA will help expand VIA’s fleet of low-emission paratransit vehicles, protecting our clean air and improving the rider experience for VIAtrans customers,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “My office was proud to advocate for VIA’s FTA funding application and I look forward to working with our city’s transit leaders to bring more clean transit options to San Antonio.”

The FTA funding will help VIAtrans continue to provide vitally important transportation services for riders with disabilities while maintaining VIA’s commitment to environmentally-conscious mobility in the region. VIA is a member of FTA’s Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge and has taken bold actions and steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the transition from gasoline to cleaner burning fuels such as CNG, electric, and propane.

“San Antonio’s public transit system will soon include new and better vans for riders with disabilities,” said Congressman Greg Casar (D-Texas). “We’re bringing these federal dollars back home to Texas, so we can better serve the thousands of San Antonians who rely on public transportation every day.”

“The rapid increase in travel to and from our airport points to the need for more and better multi-modal friendly options,” “By providing overnight parking for our customers flying out of town, VIA continues to set the standard for customer service and mobility enhancements.”

“VIA has converted its fleet of buses to cleaner and ‘greener’ as part of its multi-year plan to significantly reduce vehicle emissions, decrease operating costs, and allow the agency to carry out planned service enhancements,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “We are thankful for strong support from Congressmen Castro and Casar for their advocacy in helping us land this grant from the FTA that will let us continue that conversion across our paratransit fleet as well. This funding will help us enhance accessibility services that connect our VIAtrans riders to our community and improve quality of life.”

The 15 new propane paratransit vans will be used to meet ridership demands. VIA has embarked on a massive fleet replacement program to address the challenges of providing daily transit service and has purchased 124 propane paratransit vans to date and plans to continue replacing the vehicles that have exceeded their useful lives. The 15 paratransit vans for which funding was granted by the FTA are included in VIA’s FY 2023-2027 Capital Plan approved by the VIA Board of Trustees.