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‘A fantastic new bus facility’

‘A fantastic new bus facility’

The MBTA’s effort to transform its bus fleet to all electric vehicles is getting a major boost from federal funds, with officials on Monday getting a look at how those dollars will turn an ancient garage into a modern one with zero emission battery electric buses.

State and federal officials broke ground on the MBTA’s new Quincy bus maintenance facility on Burgin Parkway, which is benefiting from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The MBTA is receiving $2.2 billion over the next five years, including $420 million for stations and facility improvements — like the bus facility in Quincy.

“This is a critical component of our modernization program,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said during a press conference at the facility. “It’s going to replace a 104-year-old garage with a completely modern state-of-the-art facility, that’s going to be the first garage in our system to accommodate a fleet of zero emission battery electric buses.

“This will be the first, but I promise you it will not be the last,” added Poftak, who said it will be “a fantastic new bus facility.”

The Quincy garage will open in 2024, and it will accommodate up to 120 battery electric buses.

The MBTA has already funded the design of the next facility in the queue at the Arborway in Jamaica Plain. That will lead to an all-electric fleet for that area, and will also help the MBTA expand service from that garage.

“The good news for us is not just this particular facility today, but the statement it makes about where we’ll be going and how we’ll be moving, and moving people, over the course of the next decade or so,” Gov. Charlie Baker said from the Quincy garage.

“This facility is the first of what will be many as the MBTA goes through the process of completely transforming its bus fleet, away from diesel-based and fossil fuel-based powered vehicles to an entirely electric fleet,” the governor added. “And that is for all of us in the Commonwealth a very good story and very good news.”

The Bay State will be receiving $5.4 billion for roads and bridges, $2.2 billion for public transportation, and $1.3 billion for environmental infrastructure.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the billions of dollars for mass transit is a “once in a generation opportunity to address some of our biggest infrastructure challenges — to take bold steps, to combat climate change and to tackle environmental justice head on.”

Electric buses and rail are the “best way to improve reliability, to reduce maintenance costs and to clean our environment,” Warren added.

“This federal money is not coming a moment too soon,” she said. “Nearly a quarter of the buses and other public transit vehicles in our state are beyond their useful lives.”

‘A fantastic new bus facility’: As MBTA transforms bus fleet to electric, Massachusetts officials highlight new garage and billions in federal cash