Following the award of a U.S. DOT grant announced September 2016 and additional funds from Michigan State, Flint Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) of Genesee County in Michigan plans to add 32 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to its fleet. According to an article by the Davison Index, the new natural gas buses will be delivered over the next 18 to 24 months.
The CNG buses will be delivered in three roughly equal lots for a total investment of more than $15 million. Ed Benning, general manager and chief executive officer of the local MTA, reportedly said the agency was extremely appreciative to be able to receive one of the largest grants under the bus and bus facilities FAST Act funding.
“Compressed natural gas buses being purchased offer lower costs”, Benning said, “while utilizing a more sustainable fuel that also offers a 50-cent tax credit through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act on every gallon purchased.”
MTA has committed to transitioning its fleet entirely to alternative fuels. The new purchase lifts the alt-fuel portion of the fleet to 80% and the remaining diesel buses are expected to be replaced over the next five years. 35% of the alt-fuel fleet will be CNG buses.
Furthermore, MTA is seeking to expand and upgrade its Grand Blanc Alternative Fuel Facility, currently set up for time-fill refuelling of CNG buses, to provide additional capacity and to open a fast-fill public refuelling lane.
According to MTA Board Minutes, in October an Agreement was entered into with the Flint Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for the operation, fueling, and repair of a compressed natural gas bus wrapped to look like a DDA trolley vehicle, for a period of twelve (12) months with the option to renew for an additional twelve (12) months. The bus is now in service.
Two 40′ CNG Powered Heavy Duty Low Floor Buses were authorised for purchase in October, at a price not to exceed $926,202.
In September, Benning was authorized to enter into an agreement with Motor Coach Industries, Inc., (MCI) Des Plaines, IL to exercise an option from MTA’s RFP #2014-16 and purchase four (4) 45’ CNG Powered Over the Road Coach Buses and Optional Equipment for $690,321.64 each, for a total cost not to exceed $2,761,286.56.
At the beginning of 2016, Flint MTA entered into an agreement with bus manufacturer Gillig, LLC of Hayward, CA for the purchase of one 40’ CNG Powered Heavy Duty Low-Floor Bus at a not to exceed price of $463,101.00. The bus was purchased to run parallel on a route with a clean diesel vehicle to compare the performance.
(Sources: Flint MTA, Davison Index)