The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County's plans to reduce emissions have received a boost from the federal government.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded METRO $21.6 million to purchase 20 new electric buses and charging infrastructure. The project was estimated to cost $25.2 million, according to agenda documents from a May 19 METRO Finance & Audit Committee meeting.

Transitioning from diesel buses to 100% zero-emissions purchases by 2030 is a key component of METRO's Climate Action Plan. The shift to the 20 electric buses is estimated by the FTA to eliminate nearly 18,000 tons of greenhouse gases over the next 20 years.

The funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded FTA FY22 Low- and No- Emission and Bus and Bus Facilities programs. The programs provide $1.66 billion in grants to transit agencies, territories and states nationwide mainly for investment in bus fleets and facilities using zero-emissions technology.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner highlighted the significance of this collaborative effort in light of Houston's role in the energy industry.

"We are happy to support METRO, and I am thrilled with the work that has been done by this agency's board and its executive team," Turner said in an agency press release. "Coordination is very important. Who would have thought that the city of Houston, the energy capital of the world, known so much for its cars and trucks, would be moving forward with electric buses? The best for this city is yet to come."