2012 is getting off to a great start for Flagstaff. NAIPTA has been awarded an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) grant for $2,688,000 to purchase six new hybrid electric buses for Mountain Line Transit. The new buses will replace all remaining diesel buses in the core fleet making Mountain Line’s fleet 100 percent clean-air hybrids.
Mike Normand, director of Transit Programs for ADOT said, “NAIPTA has done an outstanding job in developing an efficient public transportation system. They have been collaborative and strategic in their planning for investments that continue to provide longterm value to the Flagstaff community. NAIPTA has consistently delivered projects that ADOT is proud to support as a funding partner.”
The grant will cover 80 percent of the cost, with the remaining 20 percent coming from the dedicated transit tax approved by Flagstaff voters in 2008. Proposition 402, which was one of five initiatives approved, was designated for purchasing hybrid electric buses.
Flagstaff City Councilor, Al White, notes, “With this new grant in place, NAIPTA will fulfill the Prop 402 promise to Flagstaff citizens.” He adds, “Another of the initiatives — to add a new express route connecting the Northern Arizona University campus, downtown Flagstaff and Woodlands Village shopping centers — was fulfilled earlier this year with the launching of Mountain Link service.”
The hybrid buses not only reduce fuel costs by 37 percent and provide savings in maintenance expense, but they also offer reductions in emissions and noise. Compared to the diesel buses they are replacing, the new buses are rated to last longer (12 years vs. 10) and to operate for up to 500,000 miles vs. the current diesel buses’ 350,000.
The replacement of the old buses should be completed within the next 12 months, making Mountain Line one of the first transportation systems in the country with an all hybrid electric fleet.
“Thanks to strong local support from Flagstaff's citizens, business leaders and elected officials, we have been able to build a nationally recognized transit system that continues to attract record breaking ridership from our residents and solid investment from our State and Federal funding partners,” said NAIPTA’s Board Chairman Matt Ryan. “NAIPTA's ability to speak in one voice for the benefit of city, county and university interests, combined with the collaborative efforts of elected and appointed officials has increased our competitiveness for increasingly limited grant funds.”