Decision signals shift towards health- and climate-friendly alternatives
The Coalition for Clean Transportation applauds Metro Transit’s decision not to invest in new diesel buses in advance of a shift to zero-emission buses powered by electricity. This is an important early step in transitioning to a zero-emission bus system, with reduced carbon pollution, no tailpipe emissions, and lower long-term operational costs.
This commendation comes after Metro Transit, on September 25th, canceled its planned procurement of 131 diesel and hybrid buses “due to a major shift in the type of propulsion technology required in the Metro Transit Fleet Plan.” Metro Transit is working on an Electrification Plan to build off the battery electric buses coming to the C Line, and more broadly transition to clean, zero emission technology. The Coalition for Clean Transportation has organized and advocated for this change for several months.
Poor air quality contributes to 2,000 premature deaths in the Twin Cities every year. Electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions, meaning cleaner air in our communities. "Electrifying our transportation sector along with the accelerated transition to clean, renewable energy
will bring important public health benefits and protect our climate," said Sierra Club Minnesota Director Margaret Levin.
The costs of air pollution in the Twin Cities fall disproportionately on low income communities and communities of color. Rates of asthma-related ER visits due to air pollution are 5 times higher in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and 4 times higher in neighborhoods in which the majority of residents are people of color. “With clean transportation options, we can make sure all Minnesotans, no matter where they live or how much money they make, can count on clean air and a stable climate for generations to come. Metro Transit is taking a major step in that direction,” said Noa Shavit-Lonstein, an organizer at MN350.
“Electric buses have a lower total cost of ownership over the life of the bus, thanks to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance cost savings,” said Fresh Energy Executive Director Michael Noble. “Electric buses save taxpayers money, even before you consider the public health and environmental benefits.”
Support for zero emissions buses was, by an extremely large margin, the most common public comment on the Metropolitan Council’s update to the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan. This was thanks to sustained public turnout by the Coalition and an allied group, the Twin Cities Transit Riders Union. “We're pleased to hear that the Metropolitan Council heard and listened to riders,” said Amity Foster, one of the union's organizers.
The Coalition for Clean Transportation is a collaboration of Minnesota environmental and social justice groups working for a better future in our transportation system. Membership includes MN350, Fresh Energy, the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Take Action MN, and ISAIAH. More information about the coalition is available at https://www.cctmn.org.