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City Light and King County Metro Break Ground on New Electric Bus Base

Left to right: Susan Fletcher, Region 10 Regional Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, Heena Vahora, co-chair, Mobility Equity Cabinet, Michelle Allison, King County Metro General Manager, Tom McLeod, Mayor of Tukwila, Dow Constantine, King County Executive, Ash Awad, President and Chief Market Officer, McKinstry, Dawn Lindell, Interim General Manager and CEO, Seattle City Light.

On March 6, 2024, King County Metro hosted a groundbreaking event on their first 100% electric bus base. This new base will support 120 all-electric buses scheduled to begin service in 2026. This event represents another step in the collaborative efforts of City Light and King County Metro to electrify public transportation in our region.

“Today marks another milestone achievement for our region’s transportation electrification and decarbonization. We look forward to continuing our partnership with King County Metro as we work together to create the energy future for the communities we serve,” said Dawn Lindell, Interim General Manager and CEO of City Light.

Now, this work at Interim Base builds on City Light and Metro’s previous work. In 2022, City Light joined King County Metro and the City of Tukwila to celebrate the opening of the Metro Transit South Base charging facility. That facility is currently used to charge the 40 long-range battery-electric buses that have been in service since 2022.

“Metro is leading a sustainability transformation and today’s event celebrates a vital milestone,” said Michelle Allison, Metro’s General Manager. “As we transition to a zero-emission fleet, the new Interim Base in Tukwila will be the blueprint to construct future bases and will be a hub of innovation. New zero-emission vehicles and our world-class technicians and other transit professionals will soon be here. The Interim Base will keep them charged up!”

The new base will include maintenance facilities and charging infrastructure to support the 6-10 megawatts of electricity needed to charge the zero-emission additions to King County’s bus fleet. It will also accommodate zero-emission non-revenue vehicles, including EV sedans and an electric yard cart, all powered by new charging infrastructure being installed at the adjacent parking garage.

Dawn noted how this partnership is a success for everyone in the area. “City Light is so proud to be providing carbon-neutral fuel. Clean, modern, efficient electrons that will power this energy transition. It’s a true triple win for our utility, our communities, and our planet.”

Buses from this new base will primarily serve communities in south King County, which have been disproportionately affected by pollution from fossil fuels. The new buses will reduce air and noise pollution throughout the region while providing accessible, electrified public transit for these communities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “The future of transit is electric, and today we’re building Metro’s infrastructure to deliver the bus network of tomorrow. A new 100% electric base for 120 new zero-emission buses will help us combat carbon emissions, push back against our changing climate, and support this new fleet for decades to come.”

As City Light works with partners like Metro toward a zero-emission future, projects like Interim Base are leading the way. The lessons learned here will serve as an example for transportation electrification throughout the country and inform the future of battery-electric bus deployment and electrification.

Visit our website to learn more about City Light’s transportation electrification plans.