Antelope Valley – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 8 voted to provide $1.9 million to the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) to purchase two electric buses. The grant is coming from Supervisor Antonovich’s Fifth District allocation of Proposition A Local Return funds.
“We have been looking everywhere for funding to kick off an electric bus demonstration project, as the AVTA Board has made this a top priority,” stated Executive Director Julie Austin. “We are extremely grateful to Supervisor Antonovich and the Board of Supervisors for their generosity in providing the funds. It’s very exciting to be out in front of such a revolutionary project.”
A proponent of green technology, AVTA is striving to be a leader in zero emission bus technology. Infrastructure upgrades and an electric bus demonstration project are underway as the first steps toward this goal.
“This is an exciting time for the AVTA,” stated Chairman Norm Hickling. “Our vision is to be a nationally recognized leader in transit and this type of endeavor is a major step towards that goal.”
The demonstration project will analyze how well electric buses perform on Antelope Valley’s longer than average transit routes during various seasons. The Antelope Valley is the perfect place to evaluate performance in excessive heat, wind, and snow, as well as mild temperatures.
The analysis will provide AVTA with information necessary to evaluate the bus’s battery life and determine the feasibility of incorporating more electric buses into the fleet. AVTA staff is evaluating options for funding the incremental cost difference for future electric bus purchases. Fuel savings and a reduction in maintenance costs will partially offset the difference, and AVTA will actively seek discretionary grant opportunities. An en route charging system is being actively explored as well.
At their October 22 Board meeting, AVTA authorized staff to hire a Project Engineer and solicit proposals for a federal advocacy firm to help jump-start the electric bus demonstration, support their current Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) project, and kick-off a potential bus rapid transit project.
AVTA serves a population of more than 400,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County. Its total service area covers 1,200 square miles and it is bounded by the Kern County line to the north, the San Bernardino County line to the east, the Angeles National Forest to the south, and Interstate 5 to the West.
(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.)