Summit Stage, a free transit system that operates among multiple ski resorts along I-70 in Colorado, is set to receive nearly $35 million to begin the transition to a fully electric bus fleet, according to the Colorado Sun. The grant, funded by the recent federal infrastructure law, will provide funding to organizations across the country, including many other rural bus agencies across Colorado.
Mainly, the money will be used to build a $48 million electrified bus center, with Summit County making up the $13 million difference. However, with a majority of the cost already covered by the federal bill, county money has been freed up enough to allow the proposal to move forward.
“We are honored to receive recognition for our clean energy program with this prestigious award. Summit County has reached a NEPA-compliant, shovel-ready design development of a new charging and operation facility, key for our planned conversion away from diesel fuel and replacement of aging fleet storage. This new facility and its electric charging stations will both accommodate the growth of fleet and personnel and will allow Summit Stage to meet the region’s transportation goals for improving air quality, conserving energy and meeting the needs of under-served communities.” – Chris Lubbers, Summit County Transit Director, according to a Summit County press release
The county plans to reuse the existing transit facility by replacing current buildings constructed in 1970. Summit County’s overall Climate Action Plan looks to reduce transportation emissions 25% by 2030 and 91% by 2050. The county hopes the new facility, as well as the electrification of the fleet, will encourage more people to use public transportation rather than relying on their own vehicles to get from place to place.
Personally, I think this is pretty awesome. Summit Stage already acts as a very important form of transportation for the employees of multiple different ski resorts among Colorado, serving Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain. Because of the busses, those employees aren’t forced to live in the resort towns in order to work at the mountains, stuck either barely being able to afford any housing or living in tiny dorm style employee housing. Rather, employees have the ability to live in Dillon or other, cheaper Summit County towns (cheaper is a loose term, as they’re still very expensive areas). Funding good public transportation is, in my own opinion, one of the things this country hasn’t yet succeeded with, so hopefully this will be just the beginning and we’ll see more and more news like this in the upcoming years.