The Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Area, also known as C-TRAN, has been awarded a $2.7 million Federal Transit Administration grant which will be used to purchase six renewable diesel buses.
The new buses will replace six outdated diesel buses and will allow C-TRAN to complete the replacement of its 28 bus fleet with all renewable diesel buses by 2025.
Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell announced the grant on March 16.
“The interesting thing about renewable diesel is that it’s not necessarily a special type of bus. It’s more about the fuel,” said Eric Florip, the assistant manager of customer experience and communication at C-TRAN. “When we move to renewable diesel on our fixed-route fleet, we’re actually going to be transitioning all of our existing buses that run on diesel as well. It’s really a case of replacing that fuel without having to replace the type of bus.”
Florip said the new buses are not a “special renewable-only kind of vehicle,” but will be part of a larger plan to transition the fleet to lower carbon emissions and the “renewable direction” C-TRAN is moving toward as an agency. Rather than being made of fossil fuels, the renewable fuel is made from plant and animal products, which Florip said burns “much cleaner” than traditional diesel.
“We’ve been testing renewable diesel as a pilot for the last few years, and this is part of an expansion of that based on the results we’ve seen and the direction we want to go as an agency to be more sustainable,” Florip said.
If C-TRAN were to move its entire bus fleet to renewable diesel, Florip said it would cut their total carbon emissions by more than half. The renewable diesel buses provide the same fuel efficiency.
“We’re seeing the same productivity we need, but with the added significant benefit of lower emissions, which is one of our goals as an agency,” Florip said.
Florip said he appreciates the Federal Transit Administration grant, which will help C-TRAN meet its goals.
“It certainly helps to keep us on that direction to keeping our fleet modernized and efficient and running well,” Florip said. “This is a huge help toward that.”
Florip said the vehicles C-TRAN is replacing are from 2003, so they have been in service for 19 years. All of those buses have over 700,000 miles on them.
“They’re definitely past the typical time they would need to be replaced,” he said.
Cantwell noted the grant will provide more fuel-efficient buses that will improve air quality and provide better access and mobility for commuters.
“Clark County is the second fastest growing county in Washington state, and having efficient up-to-date transit infrastructure is critical to keep our communities moving as the region continues to grow,” stated Cantwell in a release.
The six new buses are expected to be delivered in 2023.
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