Dear Chair Patman,
We write you today to urge METRO to transition its buses to a clean, all-electric fleet.
We applaud the work METRO employees do every day, safely carrying thousands of people, including many who cannot or do not wish to drive, to work, school and more. METRO buses and light rail are playing a critical role in reducing traffic and air pollution. Furthermore, we appreciate the efforts METRO has taken to convert buses to hybrid technology, limit idling, and initiate an electric bus pilot program.
However, most METRO buses are still powered by diesel—a dirty fossil fuel that gives off toxic emissions—endangering the health of the people who ride them and contributing to global warming.
The good news is we have the technology to start building cleaner, healthier cities and neighborhoods. Dramatic declines in battery costs and improvements in performance, including expanded driving range, have made electric buses a viable alternative to diesel-powered and other fossil fuel buses.
Replacing all of METRO’s diesel-powered transit buses with electric buses could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 43 million pounds each year.
Electric buses can also be more affordable than fossil fuel buses in the long run, since they have 30 percent fewer parts, no exhaust systems, their braking systems last longer, and they don’t require oil changes or fossil fuels. Over the lifetime of the bus, an electric transit bus can avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating costs over an equivalent diesel or natural gas bus, from lower fuel and maintenance costs.
We urge you to no longer purchase any more diesel buses. Putting new diesel buses on the road today will pollute our city for at least twelve more years. Instead, as buses are ready to be retired, please replace them with clean electric ones.
The Houston region is receiving $32 million from the Volkswagen Settlement funds, but that money is yet to be dispersed. This is a great opportunity for METRO to start transitioning to clean electric buses.
We look forward to working with you to one day give all Houstonians the opportunity for a “whisper-quiet, green ride.”
Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG)
Environmental Integrity Project
Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood Council #52 President
Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services
Air Alliance Houston
Mandie Svatek, MD
South Texas Asthma Coalition
Texas Campaign for the Environment & TCE Fund
Sustainable Energy Development & Public Affairs
Power Plant Development and Regulatory Affairs Professional
Center for Energy and Environmental Research
Houston Program Director
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Reverend James Caldwell
Founder and Director
Coalition of Community Organizations
Houston Electric Auto Association
Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG)
Sierra Club, Houston Region
U.S. Green Building Council, Texas Chapter
Researcher and Community Organizer
Residents Against Flooding
Board Member, Texas Campaign for the Environment
Co-founder, Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston
Dr. Brett Perkison, MD, MPH
Task Force Member of Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health
Houston DSA EcoSocialists
Houston Environmental Leader
Chief Executive Officer
Voltabox of Texas, Inc.