Governor O'Malley Announces Commitment to Convert MTA Bus Fleet to Hybrids by 2014

Diesel Buses to Be Phased Out as Governor Directs MTA to Purchase Only Hybrids

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BALTIMORE, MD (July 15, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari and MTA Administrator Paul Wiedefeld, today announced that he has directed the Maryland Transit Administration to purchase only hybrid-electric powered buses in the future as the agency replaces older diesel powered models that are retired from service.   As a result of the Governor’s directive, up to 500 hybrid-electric powered buses will be in daily operation by 2014. 

“Today, we are taking another step forward to create a sustainable environment in Maryland and provide better air quality for our children and future generations,” said Governor O’Malley.  “By directing MTA to purchase only hybrids, we will transition to a fleet where the buses that serve the Baltimore region will be cleaner, quieter, more fuel efficient and more reliable.” 

“I’m proud to stand with Governor O’Malley as a partner on the path of progress for Maryland’s people and Maryland’s environment,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Our times call for action and we are leading by example. Under Martin O’Malley’s leadership, Maryland has emerged as a national example of what states can do to protect our fragile planet.”

In tests comparing hybrid buses to diesel buses, the hybrids have used 20 percent less fuel and been up to 50 percent quieter.  Hybrids have proved to be twice as reliable as diesels with hybrids logging 6,200 miles between service calls compared to every 3,300 miles for diesel models.  The first 30 new hybrid buses will be on the street by early 2009.   Governor O’Malley also announced today that a contract to purchase another 100 hybrid buses will go before the Board of Public Works this fall.  MTA has requested bids for the balance of the hybrid buses that will be purchased by 2014.   

During the press conference today, Governor O’Malley outlined other efforts to convert State fleets to cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels.  The Department of General Services recently awarded a new contract to allow 100 percent of MTA’s buses to use biodiesel.  Many vehicles in the Maryland Department of Transportation vehicle fleet use biodiesel fuel including: 100% of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s operations fleet and 88% of the State Highway Administration’s vehicles.  At the Maryland Aviation Administration, 100% of the shuttle buses use either biodiesel or Compressed Natural Gas. 

“Governor O’Malley’s decision sends a clear message that Maryland is serious about protecting our environment,” said Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari.  “Transportation must be a full partner in Maryland's effort to improve air quality, protect the Bay and preserve our quality of life.  The move toward a hybrid bus fleet demonstrates the MTA embraces that responsibility.”

The State also is striving to increase the number of vehicles using alternative fuels or hybrid technology.  Today, 20% of all new vehicle purchases meet the federal alternative fuel standard and a total of 40 vehicles in the State’s fleet are hybrid.  The goal is to have 40% of all new vehicle purchases use alternative fuels or hybrid technology by 2010.  By 2011, the goal is to have a total of 140 hybrids in the State fleet.  Both Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown now use hybrid powered vehicles to travel throughout the state.

Today’s announcement to bring more hybrid buses to the Baltimore region is the latest in the Governor’s commitments to improve transit service.  These efforts range from passing legislation to support Transit-Oriented Development around existing Maryland transit stations to key investments in transit across the State including:

  • More than $400 million to develop new transit lines including the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway in the Washington region and the Red Line in Baltimore;
  • $200 million for the MARC Growth and Investment Plan to enhance the state’s commuter rail system and improve service; and
  • $50 million to serve as Maryland’s share of dedicated funding to maintain the Washington Metro system.



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