BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority unveiled its first-ever battery-operated bus on Earth Day.
The NFTA says it is committed to having all-electric buses by the year 2035.
“The clapping is louder than the bus,” declared Kim Minkel, executive director, NFTA.
The NFTA rolled out a shiny, new electric, million-dollar-plus bus Friday that runs on a lithium battery.
You may not realize that transportation is the third biggest polluter of the air you breathe. But this new electric bus will help reduce the fossil fuel footprint.
“It will help eliminate up to 85 to 175 tons of greenhouse gases each year,” Minkel explained.
One of the reasons the NFTA selected its Cold Spring Bus Garage is because of its location — it's in a residential part of the city.
I asked the NFTA’s Minkle about improving the air quality in this neighborhood as we took a ride on the new bus.
“We thought it was important to be a good neighbor to the community — to make certain we have buses that have zero or low emissions and you can't get any greener than this electric bus,” noted Minkel.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is helping manage the project through its e-Mobility program.
Inside the Cold Spring Bus Garage are racking in one area ready to charge future electric buses that will be purchased.
“This is going to be able to charge 50-buses at once, so we are really future-proofing,” Fabio Mantavani, NYPA.
The NFTA says it is following the governor's call for 100-percent zero-emission bus purchases by the year 2035.
One Buffalo lawmaker wants the city to follow suit.
“You know to be very honest — we are behind the nation when it comes to electrical vehicle readiness,” stated Darius Pridgen, president, Buffalo Common Council.
Pridgen sponsored a resolution where the city is now reviewing all its vehicles.
So far, a review from the city's Commissioner of Administration and Finance states replacing police vehicles might not work since the vehicles are handed off between officers and run constantly.
But Pridgen says there are other fleet vehicles that could go electric.
“Some of the detective vehicles. some of the vehicles that may be used for our behavioral health team, our parking enforcement vehicles, our street sweeping vehicles,” Pridgen listed.
Buying electric vehicles will come with a big price tag, but Pridgen says the city needs to take the leap which he says will save tax-payer money in the long run.
“We have to spend it now or we're going to be so far behind the line that we're going to find ourselves in financial difficulty trying to catch up later,”. Pridgen replied.
Buffalo’s Deputy Mayor Ellen Grant was at Friday’s event saying the city is committed to taking major first steps toward reducing greenhouse gases. She says Mayor Byron Brown will be revealing more information next week in his state of the city address.