The board of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority voted unanimously on Wednesday to authorize the purchase of 60 zero-emission electric buses over a five-year period, with the first buses expected to hit the road in early 2024.
The cost will be about $80 million, with 12 electric buses purchased a year.
The authority plans to pay for the buses with money from federal grants, including funding from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which is expected to designate money for electric vehicles.
The new electric buses will replace older diesel buses currently operating in the county and will bring the total number of green buses in Pinellas to 68 — about 30 percent of the fleet.
“I’m really, really ecstatic at the work that has been done on this,” said Pinellas County Commissioner and PSTA board member Janet Long on Wednesday before the vote.
The zero-emissions buses, purchased through Gillig, LLC, will need to be plugged in to charge, and they will be acquired along with 60 depot stations, with the possibility of switching to inductive wireless in future.
“This is indeed a historic action,” said PSTA board chair Pat Gerard.
Gerard said the move aligns with the county’s recently adopted 100 percent clean energy goals, which aim to see countywide electricity come entirely from clean energy by 2050.