LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority was selected to receive the 2016 Sustainability Award for Excellence in Green Region Initiative by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the agency announced Thursday.
AVTA was selected to receive the award for its “100% Green in 2018” electric bus conversion project, a plan to convert its entire fleet to all-electric zero emission buses over the next three years.
“Each year, SCAG honors projects that best exemplify the core principles of sustainability, and promote a cleaner, healthier, and happier Southern California,” stated Board Chair Marvin Crist. “We are extremely proud to be recognized for our commitment to emission-free public transportation in our community and beyond.”
The environmental benefits of moving to a zero-emission transportation system include improved air quality, a 50 percent reduction in noise pollution, reduction of harmful air pollutants and higher energy efficiency, according to AVTA. In addition, the electric batteries that power the buses are non-toxic and maintenance free, resulting in no hazardous diesel or diesel emission fluids needed for bus maintenance, according to AVTA.
The transit agency plans to purchase up to 85 electric buses over the next five-years, and its board of directors recently voted to award a contract to BYD Motors to manufacture the buses at the BYD factory in Lancaster.
“AVTA has demonstrated transformational leadership on a regional, state and national level with the size and scope of their bus electrification project,” stated Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hofbauer, who also serves as the Antelope Valley’s Regional Council and Transportation Committee representative to SCAG. “Although there were a number of impressive projects under consideration for this award, AVTA’s accomplishments in the area of innovative and sustainable transit create a new paradigm for zero-emission transportation in Southern California.”
“The SCAG Sustainability Award is a true validation of our efforts to implement electric bus technology here in the Antelope Valley,” stated Executive Director Len Engel. “Our conversion to an all-electric zero emission fleet will bring positive change to our community, and will go a long way toward preserving and even improving the quality of life we enjoy.”
SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents. The association undertakes a variety of planning and policy initiatives to encourage a more sustainable Southern California.
SCAG’s 2016 Sustainability Award for Excellence in Green Region will be presented to AVTA at a regional conference in May.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.]