CDTA wins $2.5M federal grant

— The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has $2.5 million to spend on new hybrid electric buses in 2013 courtesy of a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Clean Fuels Program.

“We are extremely grateful for this award, which will allow us to stick with a planned purchase program for buses. New vehicles are the centerpiece of our efforts to attract new customers to our system,” said CDTA CEO Carm Basile in a statement.

U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand worked to secure the grant, which they announced on Monday, Nov. 14.

“The Capital Region is growing through green jobs and new technologies and our public transit system must be ready to handle the load,” said Schumer.

The Clean Fuels Program was developed to “assist non-attainment or maintenance areas in achieving or maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide.”

The CDTA has a fleet of 235 vehicles on the road covering the Capital District and about 20 percent of those are hybrid electric vehicles, said Margo Janack, CDTA spokesperson. The CDTA has a Fleet Replacement Program in place that was developed a few years ago to help ensure vehicles were regularly replaced when they reached their life span, which is about 12 years or every 500,000 miles, whichever comes first.

“This will help us continue the replacement of the buses,” said Janack. “About one twelfth of our fleet will be purchased.”

Regular replacement of vehicles once they’re past their prime is important for safety and customer satisfaction.

“We want to make sure our buses on the road are safe and comfortable for the Capital Region,” said Janack. “After a while if you go beyond the 12 year span they break down all the time, which becomes more costly to even fix than it would be to get new buses in.”

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