News Briefs

Electrify METRO Coalition Letter

By Bay Scoggin
State Director

Dear Chair Patman,

We write you today to urge METRO to transition its buses to a clean, all-electric fleet.

We applaud the work METRO employees do every day, safely carrying thousands of people, including many who cannot or do not wish to drive, to work, school and more. METRO buses and light rail are playing a critical role in reducing traffic and air pollution. Furthermore, we appreciate the efforts METRO has taken to convert buses to hybrid technology, limit idling, and initiate an electric bus pilot program. 

However, most METRO buses are still powered by diesel—a dirty fossil fuel that gives off toxic emissions—endangering the health of the people who ride them and contributing to global warming. 

The good news is we have the technology to start building cleaner, healthier cities and neighborhoods. Dramatic declines in battery costs and improvements in performance, including expanded driving range, have made electric buses a viable alternative to diesel-powered and other fossil fuel buses. 

Replacing all of METRO’s diesel-powered transit buses with electric buses could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 43 million pounds each year. 

Electric buses can also be more affordable than fossil fuel buses in the long run, since they have 30 percent fewer parts, no exhaust systems, their braking systems last longer, and they don’t require oil changes or fossil fuels. Over the lifetime of the bus, an electric transit bus can avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating costs over an equivalent diesel or natural gas bus, from lower fuel and maintenance costs. 

We urge you to no longer purchase any more diesel buses. Putting new diesel buses on the road today will pollute our city for at least twelve more years. Instead, as buses are ready to be retired, please replace them with clean electric ones.

The Houston region is receiving $32 million from the Volkswagen Settlement funds, but that money is yet to be dispersed. This is a great opportunity for METRO to start transitioning to clean electric buses. 

 

We look forward to working with you to one day give all Houstonians the opportunity for a “whisper-quiet, green ride.”

Sincerely,

Bay Scoggin

Director

Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) 


Luke Metzger

Executive Director

Environment Texas


Ilan Levin

Associate Director 

Environmental Integrity Project 


Keith Downey

Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood Council #52 President 


Juan Parras

Executive Director

Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services 


Bakeyah Nelson

Executive Director

Air Alliance Houston


Mandie Svatek, MD

Chair 

South Texas Asthma Coalition 


Robin Schneider

Executive Director

Texas Campaign for the Environment & TCE Fund


Steve Brown

President

Sustainable Energy Development & Public Affairs

German Ibanez

Power Plant Development and Regulatory Affairs Professional

 

Dominic Boyer

Director

Center for Energy and Environmental Research 

Rice University 


Rosanne Barone 

Houston Program Director 

Texas Campaign for the Environment 


Reverend James Caldwell 

Founder and Director 

Coalition of Community Organizations 


Kevin Douglass 

President 

Houston Electric Auto Association 


Rachael Cornick

Executive Director

Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG)


Frank Blake

Conservation Committee

Sierra Club, Houston Region


Jonathan Kraatz

Executive Director

U.S. Green Building Council, Texas Chapter 


Stephanie Thomas

Researcher and Community Organizer

Public Citizen


Ed Browne

Chair

Residents Against Flooding


Carol Burrus

Board Member, Texas Campaign for the Environment

Co-founder, Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston


Dr. Brett Perkison, MD, MPH

Task Force Member of Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health 


Sandra Cisneros-Peeters

Houston DSA EcoSocialists


Sandy Spears

Houston Environmental Leader


Jaime Lawson

Project Consultant

GreeNexus Consulting


Tom Ortman

Chief Executive Officer

Voltabox of Texas, Inc.


David Crossley

 

Houston Tomorrow

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