Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced that Ride On has purchased 13 new American-made buses -- 12 hybrid electric-diesel buses and one clean diesel bus -- using $6.55 million in federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds provided by the State of Maryland. Ride On has a fleet of 339 buses and in fiscal year 2011, the bus system carried 26.7 million riders. With this new bus acquisition, Ride On’s environmentally-friendly buses will comprise nearly two-thirds of the fleet or 64 percent. Eighteen percent are hybrids, 27 percent are compressed natural gas buses (CNG) and 19 percent are clean diesel.
“We are grateful to President Obama, our Federal delegation – Senators Cardin and Mikulski and U.S. Representatives Van Hollen and Edwards -- the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) for the economic stimulus package that has given a boost to our local economy,” said Leggett. “ARRA is working in Montgomery County – and the result is greater investment in the environment and in clean, green transportation options. The County received a total of $115 million in ARRA funding for a variety of projects, including the purchase of the new Ride On buses. With these ARRA funds, we are building a more sustainable future with new, economic development opportunities, green jobs and improved technologies.”
“Recovery Act dollars continue to pay dividends in our communities – with these new buses, Montgomery County’s Ride On fleet is cleaner and more efficient than ever, reducing pollution and saving taxpayer dollars in the long run. I look forward to seeing them on the roads,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a critical component in reversing the slide of the economic downturn and providing local communities with critical funds to fill budget gaps,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “Since its passage, the Recovery Act has made critical investments in our economy and our nation’s infrastructure, and I am proud to be here today as we continue to see this funding meet needs in our communities. The $6.6 million in Recovery Act funds used to purchase 12 hybrid-diesel buses and one clean diesel bus, ordered from the only bus manufacturer in the U.S., helped put Americans to work and boost the economy. These buses will now reduce emissions and allow for easier commutes throughout Montgomery County for years to come.”
Compared to Ride On’s oldest buses, the clean diesel and hybrid diesel-electric buses that were purchased with ARRA funds meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 emissions standards for heavy-duty diesel vehicles. These buses emit 95 percent less nitrogen oxides, 90 percent less particulate matter and five percent less carbon dioxide. The clean diesels also improve fuel economy by five percent. In addition, as hybrid buses use 20 to 30 percent less fuel, they emit 20 to 30 percent less carbon emissions compared to conventional diesel buses.
“These 13 new clean buses are just the beginning of future transit investments in Montgomery County,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “Thanks to the County, State and Federal partners working together, we are moving forward with Governor O’Malley’s Next Generation of Transit. From linking commuters to job centers on ICC buses to building the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway, these transit projects will provide residents a commuting option that is better on their wallets and better for our environment.”
Montgomery County has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Public and private vehicles, including buses, contribute more than one-third of Montgomery County’s GHG emissions. To reduce air pollution from its vehicle fleet, Ride On has been aggressively acquiring a variety of cleaner buses, and has been a leader in adopting greener fleet technologies. To reduce air emissions, Ride On built a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station and began acquiring CNG buses in 1996 for service in the I-270 corridor. The County also has vans, cars and pickup trucks in its fleet that use CNG and ethanol. By not committing to just one technology, Ride On is benefiting from improvements in operations, costs and environmental impacts as various fleet options evolve.
To provide cleaner buses serving the mid- and down-County, Ride On is using hybrids and clean diesel buses at its Silver Spring bus depot, which serves nearly 40,000 daily riders. The ARRA buses will be used on many of the busiest Ride On routes, including the Route 15, operating between Langley Park and Silver Spring, the Route 16, operating between Takoma Park and Silver Spring, and the Route 34, operating between Friendship Heights and Wheaton. These three routes alone carry over 10,000 riders daily. The other service areas in which the new buses will also be used include White Oak-Food and Drug Administration, Langley Park,
Takoma Park-Metro, Downtown Silver Spring-Metro, Bethesda-Metro, Friendship Heights-Metro, North Bethesda-Rock Spring and White Flint, Rockville-Metro and MARC, Glenmont-Metro, Wheaton-Metro and Kensington-MARC.
The new ARRA buses are manufactured by Gillig, which is located in Hayward, California. The company was founded in 1890, in San Francisco. It is the only major North American bus manufacturer that is American-owned.
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