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U.S. Senator Merkley visits Cherriots

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His visit highlighted our bus electrification project

A small Team Cherriots delegation welcomed U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley to the Keizer Transit Center this past month. The senator has been instrumental in advocating for and securing millions of dollars for zero emission buses and attendant infrastructure.

“Public transportation connects Oregonians and keeps vital services within reach for our communities,” Senator Merkley said. “I will continue working to ensure that all transit systems across Oregon have the resources they need to get Oregonians where they’re going safely and efficiently.”

Senator Merkley was in Oregon to highlight several of the community-initiated projects he championed in the 2022 federal spending bill. Senator Merkley, with support from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, used his position on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee to secure funding for nearly 150 of these projects across the state — supporting housing, health care, education, and other needs in Oregon communities, while creating essential services and jobs.

Board President Ian Davidson opened the meeting with an update on the District’s procurement of zero-emission buses and the electrification of Route 11, which will exclusively use electric buses to connect Salem and Keizer. Senator Merkley secured $6.3 million to support the acquisition of five electric transit buses.

In addition to $6.3 million awarded in June 2021, Senator Merkley and other members of our federal delegation secured for Cherriots $3.5 million in May 2020 and another $6.3 million in March 2022.

“Senator Merkley’s advocacy for Cherriots greatly supports the District’s goal of transitioning to zero-emission and low-emission vehicles,” said President Davidson. “Zero-emission vehicles benefits both the economy and public health.”

Senator Merkley has been a consistent advocate for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), and authored the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act in 2018 to set a comprehensive federal ZEV standard and require that 50 percent of all new car sales in America be ZEVs by 2030 — before a full transition to 100 percent emission-free vehicles by 2040.

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