WTA receives $2.8 million grant for hybrid electric buses 

Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) has been awarded $2.8 million to replace five of its 18-year-old diesel fueled buses with hybrid electric buses.

The grant will be funded by the Federal Transit Administration through its State of Good Repair bus initiative. This initiative will grant up to $750 million in bus and bus facilities program funds for transit projects throughout the nation.

“WTA is delighted to be replacing five 18-year-old diesel buses with hybrid electric buses,” WTA General Manager Richard Walsh said in a press release. “While our community has long expressed interest in alternatively fueled vehicles, their higher cost has been a substantial barrier. This grant allows us to overcome that barrier, and introduce the first five hybrid powered vehicles into our fleet.”

Compared to the buses they will replace, hybrid electric buses are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by over 40,000 pounds per year.

In addition, they will be equipped with enhanced electrification measures to include a beltless alternator and electric-powered cooling fans. These measures, combined with the hybrid electric drive train, are expected to save 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.

WTA expects to introduce the new buses into service by the end of 2012.

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