The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has granted the City of Calgary a $165 million loan to replace 259 diesel buses with electric ones by 2027.
The loan, which was announced on Wednesday, is part of the city’s climate strategy, which aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The CIB estimates that electric buses will reduce more than 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
It also says there will be significant savings. According to a Wednesday news release, lifetime fueling and maintenance for an electric bus could be up to 50 per cent lower than for a diesel bus.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the city will use the savings to pay back the loan.
“The finance team has done a lot of work with the Canada Infrastructure Bank to make sure this is in the best interest of the city,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m really hopeful we can expedite this process. … This is another move to diversify the fleet and I hope it’s a quick one.
“This is demonstrating value for the climate declaration and strategy and it demonstrates a city that is progressive that is moving a diverse bus fleet.”
The loan, however, covers only about 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the total cost. The project is estimated to cost about $500 million.
Sharon Fleming, director of Calgary Transit, said the city is looking for grants to fund the rest of the project.
“This is a significant first step towards achieving the funding,” she told Global News. “This, along with securing the funding from the Zero Emission Transit Fund in April, will help form the base capital that transitions our fleet to electric buses.”
Fleming said the city will work on acquiring vendors and the construction of new facilities for the new electric buses once the funding is complete.
This is one of the biggest projects Calgary Transit has ever taken on, she said.
“2027 is actually quite an ambitious goal,” Fleming said.
“There are a whole bunch of steps that have to take place. I think the acquisition of the fleet will hopefully happen sooner than later.
“Once we do have the fleet, we’ll still have to make sure that we tested them in our climate and we design the routes correctly.”
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