Madison leaders make move to buy electric buses for upcoming bus rapid transit program

Two buses pass each other on State Street

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and nine members of the city’s Common Council have introduced a resolution authorizing a contract to buy dozens of all-electric buses for the upcoming bus rapid transit program.

The non-competitive contract with New Flyer industries includes a base order of 27 bus rapid transit buses costing up to $41.6 million. Also included are options to buy an additional 14 diesel buses for $14 million or 19 more electric buses for $28.9 million by the end of the year.

A non-competitive selection request form included with the legislation said New Flyer is the only vendor able to provide the buses the city needs due to federal rules.

In a news release, Rhodes-Conway’s office said money from the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act is allowing Madison to change the bus purchase to include as many as 46 electric buses without more local funding.

“I am grateful to President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg for helping Madison move quickly to implement a fully electric BRT system,” Rhodes-Conway said in the release. “I also want to thank Alders Furman and Foster for being early champions of this resolution, and all Alders who signed onto this important investment for the future of our transportation network, the future of our dynamic economy and the sustainability of our environment for generations to come.”

The release estimates the switch to electric buses could save nearly 250,000 gallons of diesel gasoline every year and $125,000 in maintenance costs over the lifetime of each bus.