Governor O'Malley Announces Commitment to Convert MTA Bus Fleet to Hybrids by 2014
July 15, 2008
Today is a day about hope, today is a day about the future. And today is also a day when we embrace the greatest of all freedoms that we have as Americans, and that is the freedom to make choices that create a better, stronger, greener and more sustainable future for the next generations.
We are announcing that we are going to convert, as a State, 75 percent of our MTA bus fleet -- that's some 500 buses -- to hybrids by the year 2014. Which happens to be -- let's applaud for that (applause) -- which also happens to be the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore and the birth of your Star Spangled Banner.
Secondly, the MTA will no longer purchase any diesel buses. We are not purchasing any more diesel buses. That will also move us towards our goal of 100 percent hybrid fleet within the decade.
Well, Governor, if you're doing 500 by 2014, and then you need another decade -- why is that? Because the Federal government doesn't like us to retire buses until we have squeezed the 12 year life out of them, which is only half the life of the City Public Works buses and vehicles. I know from experience.
Anyway, what we see in hybrid buses is an example of being able to do the right thing for our environment, for the earth, but also the right thing in terms of our pocketbooks and the cost of fuel and the availability of fossil fuels over all.
By making these investments we're going to be able to reduce air pollution, we're going to reduce noise pollution, and at the same time we're going to be able to reduce costs to taxpayers. Hybrid buses produce 90 percent fewer emissions than the diesel dinosaurs that they are replacing. Imagine that.
They run on a combination of electricity and biofuel. They consume 20 percent less fuel overall and -- get this -- they only require about half the maintenance and they tend to go about 6,000 miles between road calls versus 3,300 for the diesel dinosaurs.
So -- and all the while producing a quieter, more pleasant ride and I think some quicker acceleration and smoother shifting.
So I sound like a walking commercial, don't I, for hybrid buses?
We're going to be able to make these investments also because of a partnership with our Federal government. I want to thank Reverend Stevens, who stands here on behalf of Senator Cardin. But Senator Cardin, Senator Mikulski, Congressman Cummings, Congressman Ruppsersberger, Congressman Sarbanes -- our whole congressional district is -- and Congressman Hoyer -- our entire congressional district pulls together to be a Team Maryland to push for these sort of investments. And, frankly, in this day and age, to defend these sort of investments. It's very, very important.
As for timing we currently have 10 hybrid buses on the street with 30 more set to arrive early next year. This fall we will bring a contract to the Board of Public Works for an additional 100 hybrids. And moving forward, we are planning to replace about 80 to 100 buses per year until we have phased out diesel completely.
So, today's announcement is part of that larger edition of sustainability for our State, for a cleaner, greener, healthier Maryland. And our goal is to have nearly half of all the vehicles purchased -- and it will be even beyond the buses -- that's 40 percent -- to be alternative fuel and hybrids by 2010.
Lieutenant Governor Brown and I, I mentioned, will be joining that journey and we hope that pretty soon we'll be able to say with accuracy that Maryland runs on bio. We would like Maryland to become a leader in implementing alternative fuel sources in all our public fleets.
And in our State, which is a State that embraces diversity and understands the hybrid beauty and nature of God's planet, this is the sort of technology that we have to invest in and this is the sort of move that we hope will encourage other States and other cities to move along this path as well.