Skip to content

June 28, 2024

King, Pingree Announce $23 Million DOT Grant to Electrify Acadia National Park Buses

Award will fund the electrification of 23 buses to expand the fleet serving Acadia National Park, Hancock County communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Angus King and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree today announced Downeast Transportation Inc. (DTI) is being awarded $23,529,000 to fund the acquisition of 23 electric buses and charging infrastructure — after they wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressing their support for the project. Supported by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants, the award would replace 21 propane-fueled buses in the active fleet with electric buses, as well as fund two additional electric buses to expand the fleet.

Acadia National Park recently started construction of the new Acadia Gateway Center on Route 3 in Trenton — funding for which Senator King helped secure — that will be the central hub for accessing Acadia.

RAISE grants invest in a wide variety of transportation projects at the state and local level that work to improve safety, environmental suitability, community connectivity and economic development. The grants are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $1.5 billion annually for the program through fiscal year 2026. Senator King and Congresswoman Pingree both voted in favor of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021.

“Public transit is an essential service for Maine communities — helping folks commute to work affordably, connecting families, and supporting visitors coming to experience ‘The Way Life Should Be.’ The electrification of the Downeast Transit Inc. bus fleet will help ensure Maine people and visitors alike can continue to rely on this critical bus service across Hancock County, and in Acadia National Park, as well as help to further Maine’s climate goals,” said Senator King and Congresswoman Pingree. “Made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are proud to support this important and environmentally friendly project.”

DTI is the authorized public transit provider for Hancock County, operating critical year-round commuter bus service between Bar Harbor, Bangor, Brewer, Franklin, Milbridge and Ellsworth, as well as the seasonal Island Explorer shuttle service for Acadia National Park and surrounding communities on Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula. Since its establishment in 1999, the Island Explorer has welcomed more than 9 million riders.

The grant comes as visitation at Acadia National Park remains at record levels of 3.8 million visits a year.

Senator King, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, is among the Senate’s loudest voices advocating for public lands and encouraging outdoor recreation. He was awarded the inaugural National Park Foundation (NPF) “Hero” Award. Senator King also helped lead the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law which includes the Restore Our Parks Act — a bill led by Senator King — and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Permanent Funding Act. The historic legislative package continues Senator King’s career-long focus on conservation efforts, dating back to his work prior to running for elected office through his years as Governor and his service in the Senate. Over the course of his time in the Blaine House, Governor King was responsible for conserving more land across Maine than all Governors before him combined. 

Pingree is ranking member of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the National Park Service.


Next Article » « Previous Article