Zoom to Zero: A Zero Emission Infrastructure Planning Workshop for Transit Agencies – Summary

On August 14, 2019, Sunline Transit and CALSTART hosted โ€œZoom to Zero: A Zero Emission Infrastructure Planning Workshop for Transit Agenciesโ€ to address infrastructure development required to meet the Innovative Clean Transit ruling (ICT). The ICT ruling requires transit agencies to create a zero emission bus (ZEB) rollout plan to transition to a 100% zero emission fleet by 2040. The ZEB rollout plan documents need to be approved by each transit agency’s Board of Directors and submitted to CARB by July 1, 2020 for large transit agencies and by July 1, 2023 for small transit agencies. The table below shows the ZEB bus percentage requirements for large and small transit agencies. Large transit agencies are those with 200 or more buses in their fleet.



Large Transit AgenciesSmall Transit Agencies
2023-202525% ZEB purchases0% ZEB purchases
2026-202850% ZEB purchases25% ZEB purchases
2029+100% ZEB purchases100% ZEB purchases

Transit agencies have an option to join together to form a ZEB Joint Group to collectively comply with the ICT, if all members share the use of the same infrastructure and are within the same Air District or Air Basin. Zero emission car sharing, van pooling and bike share programs can count towards ZEB purchase requirement for transit agencies. A CARB comprehensive review will be performed one year before the first ZEB purchase requirement kicks in and will include workforce training, battery performance, costs, reliability and range. CARB will be collecting data and input throughout the ZEB rollout.

Orange County Transit Agency (OCTA) presented their cost analysis showing the price of deploying a 50 fuel cell bus fleet versus a 50 battery electric bus fleet. The difference in capital cost is very small, less than 3%, and the fuel cell bus fleet has a lower midlife maintenance cost compared to battery. Sunline Transit presented on the importance of assembling a competent team to implement ZEB infrastructure including permitting, designing, developing and monitoring for compliance. ZEB Infrastructure team members are typically the property owner, project manager, construction team and design team. A lot of money can be saved during construction with proper planning and foresight.

To close out the workshop, State funding agencies presented funding programs and incentives for ZEBs. In the 2019-2020 CEC Fiscal Year, $30 million is proposed to go towards medium and heavy duty zero emission vehicles and infrastructure. CEC is coordinating with CARB to ensure no duplication in funding programs and that they are complimentary. The CEC is also proposing for the same fiscal year $10 million for zero and near-zero carbon fuel production, which includes hydrogen. Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits for hydrogen are $0.22 credit revenue per mile for generic pathway hydrogen and $0.62 per mile for hydrogen from zero carbon electricity electrolysis. CARB will be administering the zero emission transit shuttle bus category for the VW Mitigation Trust with $65 million available in 2019, on a first come, first served basis. It has a 50% target for spending the funds in disadvantage communities. There is up to $400,000 available for fuel cell electric buses; the solicitation will open in Q3 2019 and awards will begin to be issued within a few weeks. More information and presentations from the workshop can be found at https://zoomtozero.org/.