NCTD receives grant for 12 new natural-gas buses - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

NCTD receives grant for 12 new natural-gas buses

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OCEANSIDE (CNS) - The North County Transit District announced Thursday that it received a federal grant to help the agency purchase 12 new buses powered by compressed natural gas.

They would replace a dozen older coaches with diesel engines. The agency has a backlog of 30 such older buses it wants to take off the road.

The $4.6 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration requires a 20 percent matching grant from regional Transnet tax revenues to bring the total award up to nearly $5.8 million.

"The impact of this grant goes far beyond our own customers who will actually ride these buses," said Thomas Lichterman, NCTD's chief operations officer. "These new vehicles and the ensuing reduction in harmful pollutants will benefit every single person living and breathing in North County."

The CNG buses are also less expensive to maintain, he said.

Lichterman said the agency has an active fleet of 144 buses. Besides the 30 diesel buses, two dozen are powered by unleaded gasoline and 90 by compressed natural gas.

The fleet's average age is 7.2 years with an average of 350,000 miles, he said.

He said the new buses should be operational by late next year.

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