NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The City of Norman was awarded nearly $900,000 in grant funding that will benefit city transit.

The $894,963 grant was one of only 150 such grants awarded across the nation and its territories by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, by way of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, according to a city news release.

The money will be used to purchase compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to replace buses that have exceeded their usefulness.

“We are fortunate to have dedicated staff that actively pursue grant funding for vital projects and services in our community,” said Taylor Johnson, Transit and Parking Program Manager. “Our transit program has a track record of applying for and successfully being awarded funds from such competitive grants. Although 150 grants have been awarded, the FTA received requests for funding for more than 500 eligible projects during this process. We appreciate the support of the City Council and City leadership in allowing us to pursue these types of opportunities.”

The funds will cover about 80 percent of the purchase of two 35-foot CNG buses, which benefits the community by increasing service reliability, improving air quality and creating foreseeable cost-saving measures by decreasing the need for costly repairs, according to Johnson.

Expanding CNG-fueled equipment will save the city majors costs each year, according to city officials.

“More than 150 CNG vehicles is estimated to save taxpayers more than $500,000 this fiscal year,” city officials said.

EMBARK Norman’s fixed route service has an average of 875 passengers each weekday and 401 passengers each Saturday. Paratransit services has an average of 81 passengers each weekday and 18 passengers each Saturday, according to city officials.