Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA)

Community Joins COTA in Celebrating Ohio’s Largest Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Station

Nearly 100 community stakeholders attended an event celebrating the opening of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) McKinley Avenue Facility’s compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on May 16.

Curtis Stitt, president/CEO, thanked those in attendance as well as the many community and area partners for making this project a reality.

“A project like this does not happen on its own,” Stitt said.

Stitt then introduced a variety of special guests who offered COTA their congratulations and spoke to the importance of this innovative and significant advancement into CNG technology.

Franklin County Administrator Don Brown spoke followed by David Bush, assistant director of finance and management for the city of Columbus.

Representatives from the offices of Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), U.S. Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15) and U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-3) presented a resolution congratulating COTA and there were remarks from Sam Spofforth, executive director, Clean Fuels Ohio.

Stitt concluded the presentation by thanking all of the community partners, contractors and COTA staff who were instrumental to the completion of this important project.

In 2011, COTA conducted a study to consider potential benefits of switching to compressed natural gas (CNG) to power its fixed-route bus fleet. The study compared costs of CNG versus diesel fuel, operational and maintenance expenses, market forces and infrastructure costs.

In keeping with COTA’s robust “Going Green” program, environmental impacts, particularly emissions, were also evaluated. COTA officials also visited and studied other public transit systems operating CNG fleets.

By late 2011, COTA made the decision to move forward with the transition to CNG and updated existing plans for the renovation of the McKinley operations facility which includes the now-completed CNG compatible modifications.

On May 6, COTA began using 30 new transit coaches powered by CNG. The buses are fueled at the newly constructed, COTA-owned and operated fueling station on the grounds of the McKinley Operations facility. These first CNG buses, produced by Gillig Corp., represent the beginning of a 12-year transition to an all CNG powered fleet.