Stimulus To Fund Tulsa Transit Switch To CNG

Thursday, May 21st 2009, 4:39 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa Transit Authority is expecting more than $13 million in stimulus money, which will be used to begin converting the fleet to compressed natural gas.

MTTA officials say the plan is coming at the perfect time.

All 62 buses in the Tulsa Transit fleet run on diesel, but officials are going after economic stimulus money to replace the diesel with compressed natural gas.

"CNG is something we've been looking at for a while now," Tulsa Transit CEO Bill Cartwright said.

Cartwright says CNG is cleaner than diesel and the switch will help save money on fuel.

"It'll be less noisy than what you're hearing right now," he said. "Because the CNG engine is basically a gas engine, like in your car, it just runs on CNG."

The stimulus money will replace 13 buses over the next two years. Cartwright says it will also pay to convert the transit authority's maintenance shop and build a CNG fueling station.

He says the plan makes good use of stimulus money.

"First of all, someone's got to build these buses," Cartwright said. "Now these buses will not be built in Oklahoma. They'll be built elsewhere in the United States, but it's going to employ people directly building these vehicles. It's going to employ people here in Oklahoma, directly converting our maintenance shop to a CNG facility and building a fueling station."

Cartwright says the transit authority will be using a mixed fleet of diesel and CNG buses for at least the next 10 years.