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AUSTIN -- The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (CapMetro) board of directors approved a new contract on Wednesday to purchase 197 new electric buses over the next five years for Austin’s public fleets, one of the largest electric vehicle purchases ever made in the United States.
This approval comes as part of Austin’s Project Connect, a transit plan that includes a new rail system, a downtown transit tunnel, an expanded bus system and a transition to an all-electric fleet. Out of the nearly 200 new electric buses, 124 will be replacement vehicles and up to 73 will serve as expansion vehicles. The first shipment of new electric vehicles is scheduled to arrive by the end of 2022. The 197 new electric buses will join the twelve currently operating in Austin.
Currently, Austin estimates that transportation accounts for 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the city. The majority of transit buses in Texas 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 shift to electric buses is a key part of the city’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
In response, Bay Scoggin, state director of TexPIRG, issued the following statement:
“CapMetro is making good on its promise to purchase electric buses, and we applaud their commitment. We hope the other transit agencies across the state will be able to learn from CapMetro's example and experience.“
In response, Mac Dressman, transportation associate for PIRG, issued the following statement:
“Austin’s investment in a clean, zero-emission future shows that the city is serious about acting on pollution and climate change. Rolling out this many electric buses is a big win for mobility, public health and the environment in Austin. We applaud CapMetro for taking the lead on clean, efficient transit in Texas.”
Learn more about TexPIRG’s “Electric Buses for Texas” campaign here.
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