Friday, March 27, 2009

What A Brilliant Idea!

Let's all use some of President Obama's "economic stimulus" money to buy some natural gas-powered buses and other vehicles used by our local public agencies. If buses, why not police cars, garbage trucks, and utility vehicles? Let's keep our energy dollars here in the U.S., create jobs, and wow, we can even claim to be "green" and doing our part to "save the environment".

March 25, 2009

City announces new natural gas-running buses
By Icess Fernandez (source)

In Shreveport, it's a little easier being green.
City officials announced Tuesday they will purchase five new compressed natural gas buses with $4.7 million in economic stimulus money.

"This is something that is significantly important," said Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover. "The city of Shreveport needs to take advantage of the opportunity with the Haynesville Shale. We've taken time to research this and have done the due diligence, not just followed a trend."

The vehicles would be cheaper to run compared to the regular diesel buses and the new hybrid ones purchased in 2006. But the startup costs will be higher, said Gene Eddy, SporTran director. The buses cost $30,000 to $50,000 more than a diesel bus.
"The hybrids that were bought in 2006 are running fine, but they cost $100,000 more," he said.
The new buses come with perks: they're quieter and will have bike racks on them.
The stimulus money also will be used to build a fueling station for the vehicles and will be the first natural gas fueling station in the state.

The move will bring Shreveport a step closer to being greener without raising bus fares.
"We've been trying to deal with issues of clean air," Eddy said. "We want to do something that's proactive."

The new buses will be running on Shreveport's streets in about 15 months.
In preparation, the city will have to make some adjustments. The maintenance facility will have to be converted, buses drivers and maintenance personnel will have to retrained.
Shreveport is the second city in the state to announce the new buses. Baton Rouge also will purchase these types of vehicles. Fort Worth, Texas, and Birmingham, Ala., also have a fleets of these buses.

"We're seeing this happen all over the country," Eddy said.

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