Gov. Ned Lamont and transportation officials gathered Monday in Bridgeport to celebrate the launch of the first two battery-electric mass transit buses in the state.
The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority buses are each expected to reduce gasoline consumption by 23,000 gallons a year and are capable of running 150 miles between charges, according to Doug Holcomb, CEO of the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.
Holcomb said the buses, which were built in South Carolina, fulfill the transit authority’s mission to reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution from emissions.
“This is the first in what we expect to be a steady stream of electric buses,” Holcomb said.
Other cities around the state could also be following suit.
State Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said the state’s goal is to get “zero pipe emissions” buses running in Hartford and New Haven and that the state recently received a federal grant of more than $6 million to allow it to upgrade the Stamford mass transit garage with electric capabilities.
Officials said the buses are also expected to contribute to better health outcomes for city residents, who are exposed to more emissions, especially in Bridgeport, which is bisected by Interstate 95, the state’s most heavily traveled highway.
Officials said Monday that internal combustion fuel emissions account for 70% of smog and 30% of greenhouse gases and contribute to higher rates of asthma among city residents.
“Bad air travels kind of like bad news — far and wide,” said Shante’ Hanks deputy commissioner of the state Department of Housing. “But this is great news.”
Lamont closed the event by saying that reducing carbon emissions is part of the state’s environmental justice push that includes shutting down the Bridgeport’s last coal fired electric power plant, ramping up wind power in the port city and a achieving a noncarbon green power grid in the next 15 years.
“I think that’s part of what we’re here for today when it comes to what you can do to reduce the environmental risk to people’s health,” Lamont said.
Steven Goode can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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