Ravell Call, Deseret News
The Utah Transit Authority is given a demonstration of a Proterra battery electric bus in Salt Lake City, Monday, July 28, 2014.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority has received a $5.4 million low- or no-emission vehicle deployment grant from the Federal Transit Administration for the purchase of five electric buses, the agency announced Thursday.

The new vehicles will support service from downtown Salt Lake City to the University of Utah, which partnered with UTA in securing the grant.

Three of the electric buses will be put into service on Route 2 serving downtown and traveling through the heart of the central business district on 200 South to the university, UTA spokesman Remi Barron said. Route 2 makes frequent stops and serves a variety of populations, he added.

“Providing environmentally friendly public transportation is one of UTA’s long-term goals," said UTA chief planning officer Matt Sibul. "We are happy to be able to put these electric buses into service right through the center of Salt Lake City, where the air pollution sometimes gets trapped and where so many people work, live and play.”

The other two all-electric buses will run on a new University of Utah shuttle route through the center of campus, supporting the university’s Energy and Environmental Stewardship Initiative — 2010 Climate Action Plan.

“It is a direct health benefit to provide electric bus service through the heart of campus without pumping emissions into the air,” said Alma Allred, executive director of commuter services at the U. “This fits with one of the university’s goals of helping the people of Utah improve their health and quality of life.”

The new vehicles are the first zero-emission, all-electric buses to be purchased and operated by UTA. Currently, the agency has a fleet of low-emission buses that includes 32 hybrid electric and 47 compressed natural gas buses.

Barron noted that part of the grant will also support other transit partners, including Utah State University, which will provide data collection, analysis and technical assistance; the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development; Rocky Mountain Power; bus manufacturer New Flyer; and CALSTART, a leading advanced transportation technologies consortium providing data collection, analysis and technical assistance and grid optimization.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: JasenLee1