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A Fleet Of Zero-Emission Buses Are Coming Soon To The Central California


Communities like Kerman, Firebaugh, Selma and Kingsburg will soon have an eco friendly transit option. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

With a goal of improving air quality in the Valley the California Air Resources Board is providing funding for 15 zero-emission electric buses from a company called Proterra. Kent Leacock runs government relations for the group. He says the project will eliminate 15 tons of greenhouse gases in the region.


“They’re also saving money for their respected transit districts because the buses have been proven out that over a 12 to 14 year lifecycle they’re cheaper to run then natural gas or diesel," Leacock says.


Four of those buses will end up operating under the Fresno County Rural Transit agency. It’s all part of a plan to transition their fleet to 100 percent electric vehicles. The buses can go about 185 miles on one charge.


“We’re going to put them in these rural communities that are really very deserving of the zero emission vehicles and the charging stations are going to be within each of those cities," says Moses Sites, the agencies general manager.


Each bus costs around $600,000 and should be operating by January 2018. Donna DeMartino with San Joaquin Regional Transit District says the buses will help establish the nation’s first all-electric BRT corridor along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in South Stockton.  She says it's important because it could bring improved air quality and maybe better health outcomes for a community that really needs it.


"With continued and increased funding for Zero Emission Buses we have the best chance of leading California to achieve important climate change goals, while cleaning up the air and making important investments in disadvantaged communities in our region," DeMartino says.


Fresno State will also receive a few buses through the program.




Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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