Phoenix Will Spend Over $102 Million For Electric Buses

December 15, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

The Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a plan to spend $102 million to replace its bus fleet with electric vehicles. Outgoing councilmember Sal DiCiccio wasn’t present. 

Over $86.7 million (85 percent) comes from federal funding; over $15.3 million (15 percent) comes from regional funding. The initiative is part of the council’s goal of achieving a total zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040. The current fleet consists of 500 buses.

The city will procure a variety of electric buses: battery, hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell. The council waived standard competition in its procurement process to award the five-year contract due to supply chain issues; reportedly, the city learned it couldn’t acquire its first round of zero-emissions buses until after 2025, well after its planned timeline. The city selected a supplier who could meet their timeline: the Washington State Transit Bus Cooperative.

Mayor Kate Gallego indicated that their goal of true zero-emissions would come from future negotiations with power companies. Gallego noted that the plans to create an electric charging grid launched by the Biden administration and state would facilitate their efforts.

“It cannot be zero-emission if the power going in is not zero-emission,” stated Gallego.


Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari noted that this plan put the city on the same timeline to zero-emissions as New York City and California. Ansari promised that the council would accelerate their plan even further once the supply chain stabilizes and inflation costs reduce. 

Ansari credited the Sierra Club, Arizona Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), American Lung Association (ALA), and CHISPA AZ for allowing their plan to come to fruition.

“We will only be ordering hybrid and zero-emission buses after 2024, which will completely then end our dependence on fossil fuel transit in terms of new purchases,” stated Ansari. “This is a public health win, a quality of life win, a climate win, and a very big win for Phoenix.”

Public comment came from two organizations that advocated heavily for the $102 million expenditure: 

Joanna Struther, ALA senior director of advocacy, cited ALA data ranking Phoenix as the fifth-most polluted city in the nation. Struther stated that the city’s air pollution presented a severe harm to circulatory systems.

The ALA claimed that electrification of city fleets would result in 38,000 less asthma attacks and $15.1 billion in public health benefits. ALA asserted that its polling revealed 70 to 80 percent support among Arizonans for electric vehicles.

PIRG’s executive director, Diane Brown, noted that not only would residents benefit from improved air quality from bus electrification, but the city would increase its access to federal funding.

The city rejected a plan last year to renew their current fleet powered by fossil fuels for another five years.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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