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HOUSTON -- The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) staff announced last week a proposal to transition their transit fleet to zero-emission vehicles. This announcement came as part of METRO’s new electric bus initiative, which will add 10 new zero-emission electric buses and 10 electric cutaway buses to their fleet starting in spring of next year.
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 funding for these electric buses is part of a recently awarded $1.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. Following Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, Houston is now the eighth Texas city to purchase electric buses for its transit system.
In response, Bay Scoggin, state director of TexPIRG, issued the following statement:
“The air quality in Houston is among the worst in the nation and the city is falling 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. We applaud METRO for taking this important step on the way to a zero-emission transit fleet.”
Learn more about TexPIRG’s “Electric Buses for Texas” campaign here.
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