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The Wheels on the Bus Go Cleaner and Greener: Advance Transit Brings Electric Buses to Upper Valley

Oct 24, 2019 03:32PM ● By Gabrielle Varela

Photo provided by the Valley News

The long-standing free transport system Advance Transit (AT) recently announced they
will be going green with efforts to buy and run new electric hybrid buses. The
organization which has been providing free transit in Vermont and New Hampshire for
years. Originally created with the goal of reducing traffic congestion, now the
organization can add reducing pollution and fossil fuels to their mission statement.

A federal grant from the Transportation Department's Low or No-Emission Vehicle
Competitive Program awarded $3 million to equip Vermont with electric buses and
charging stations in partnership with VT Trans, Advance Transit and Green Mountain
Power. In a press statement released by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie
Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) the new federally funded
electric bus project will help Vermont reduce local air pollution, improve public transit
infrastructure and support the state’s goals to eliminate carbon emissions and combat
climate change.

“The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in
Vermont. The increase in fossil-fuel emissions in the state is due in large part to
emissions from cars and trucks. With its reliance on gasoline and diesel, transportation
accounts for 47% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions – outdistancing all other
sectors, including residential and commercial heating.

As of January 2019, there were 2,985 electric vehicles (“EVs”)1 registered in Vermont.
Estimates for how many EVs must be registered in Vermont to meet the goals set forth
in the CEP range from 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles by 2025.” says a report from the
Vermont State Legislature released June 27, 2019.

According to a joint statement released, Leahy, Sanders, and Welch said: “Investments
like these create a cascade of benefits for our community. Updating our state’s public
transit options to reflect the changing climate will mean more Vermonters trading car
rides for bus rides and fewer carbon emissions in our atmosphere, and will make our
rural communities more resilient. At a time when global climate change is already
causing devastation here at home and around the world, from more frequent and
stronger hurricanes, to wildfires, drought, and flooding, this is exactly the kind of
investment we should be making. It’s also crucial to make sure that investments in
clean energy are not limited to urban areas. This project’s focus brings those benefits
directly to Vermont’s rural communities.”

The new buses have 95% less nitrogen oxide emissions and 90% less particulates
compared with standard diesels. New hybrid buses will result in even better fuel
economy and less pollution. Advance Transit plans to purchase two vehicles with the
grant money to start.

Other initiatives include the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
announcing the use of a Volkswagon Settlement fund will go to a two year electric
school bus pilot program and other transit systems in New Hampshire like the Nashua
Transit System integrating electric buses also.

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