February 9, 2018
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VW Settlement Could Mean More Alternative Fueled Buses in Colorado

Public transit agencies in Colorado hope to add to their bus fleets powered with electricity or CNG with part of Volkswagen’s $68.7 million payout to the state as a settlement for its violation of emissions laws.

Craig Blewitt, director of Mountain Metropolitan Transit in Colorado Springs, said the Colorado Department of Public Health is working with Colorado DOT in allocating funds through the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan. He expects the draft proposal on allocation of funds within the next six months, with the opportunity to apply for funds coming in the fall.

“At least $18 million of the total amount is earmarked for replacement of diesel buses with either electric or CNG-powered vehicles,” Blewitt said. He cited Denver’s Regional Transportation District and Transfort in Fort Collins as other agencies in the state that could benefit from the funds.

Blewitt noted that Mountain Metro did not previously invest in CNG buses because of economic setbacks during the 2007 recession, adding that the cost of CNG was rising and grants were less available by the time the agency was ready to buy new buses. “Now that electric buses are becoming available, we’re very interested,” he said. “We think it’s time to get into electric buses; we see them becoming the standard for public transportation systems across the country.”

He said the agency would like to replace about six buses a year with slow-charge electric vehicles that can be charged overnight.
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