Flint MTA advances its green agenda - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint MTA advances its green agenda

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FLINT (WJRT) -  (04/22/14) - Earth Day is a celebration of our planet and all the different and creative ways to make sure it's healthy for future generations.

That includes a major effort by a Flint-area mass-transit company. The MTA has come a long way from the days of a fleet of dirty diesel-belching vehicles. Its transformation has everyone in Genesee County breathing a little easier these days.

Back in 2010, the MTA launched an ambitious plan to not just modernize their fleet of buses and transport vehicles, but also to be better stewards of the environment.

"The vehicle we have today is one of fourteen that will bring us up to 90 propane buses operating in the community. Each of these vehicles should last around 400,000 miles or more," says MTA GM & CEO Ed Benning.

Mileage is just one benefit of Your Ride's new wheels.

"The carbon footprint will be reduced by 240,000 pounds per year, per vehicle," Benning said.

About half the fleet is now propane-powered. Newer vehicles also mean lower repair costs, compared to some of the older diesel buses that have been on the road for as many as 30 years. Technology has led to major changes under the hood, but other changes are more subtle, according to MTA Maintenance Director Lynn McLean.

The general public could never know the difference, other than it's a little bit quieter than the gas engine.

"Actually, the sound is a little quieter. The biggest thing they notice is, they don't have the rumble of the diesel versus the gas engine," McLean said.

Sixteen diesel/electric hybrid buses are now in operation with plans to add up to 40 more. A second prototype hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is also in the works. It's emissions? Just hot water.
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