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HOUSTON -- The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) approved a goal on Thursday to transition the urban area’s entire public transit fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This announcement came as part of METRO’s Climate Action Plan, which will start by adding 20 new zero-emission electric buses to their fleet starting in spring of next year. Board Member Chris Hollins will oversee the development and implementation of the new electric bus program.
In Houston, nearly 1,300 transit buses drive tens of thousands of miles every year. While some transit agencies in Texas have made progress toward electrifying fleets, the majority of transit buses in the state still run on diesel, a fossil fuel that increases global warming emissions and has been linked to several serious health risks, including increased rates of respiratory illness and cancer. Electric buses are more affordable than fossil fuel-powered buses in the long run, saving transit agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating and maintenance costs.
The agency now matches Austin’s CapMetro for two of the strongest commitments to electric buses in the country.
In response, Bay Scoggin, state director of TexPIRG, issued the following statement:
“Today marks a sea-change in Houston’s transportation future. METRO has made one of the strongest commitments to public transit electrification in the nation. We applaud their forward-thinking leadership; this is a great day for all Houstonians, not just the ones riding the bus.
“The air quality in Houston is among the worst in the nation. Up to this point, the city has fallen behind when it comes to cleaning up its transportation system. Replacing our diesel-powered transit buses with electric buses will protect the health of local residents while reducing millions of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
“When you include Austin’s commitment, Texas is now among the nation’s leaders in commitments to electric transit fleets. We couldn’t be more excited or more proud of our city leaders for their recognition of the climate and public health crisis caused by our overreliance on fossil fuels.”
Learn more about TexPIRG’s “Electric Buses for Texas” campaign here.
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