City of Madison to buy more hybrid buses for Metro

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From a story by Lynn Welch on The Daily Page of Isthmus:

It’s a good problem to have, says Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, reflecting on the city’s need to decide quickly where to spend gobs of federal stimulus money headed its way from the federal economic stimulus package.

“There’s probably tens of millions of dollars coming to the city,” Cieslewicz says. “I've asked each of the managers who have stimulus money coming to them, or who can apply for stimulus money, to put together a memo to me by end of [this] week outlining their suggestions on how the money might be used.”

Len Simon, Madison’s Washington D.C. lobbyist, has been scouring the voluminous economic stimulus bill signed last week by President Barack Obama, and reporting back details of what’s in it for Madison. Among the bigger items: $9.5 million in transit funds, earmarked for new capital spending. The city plans to use the money to order 18 new hybrid buses; these will be delivered in 2010 to replace buses retiring from Madison Metro’s aging fleet.

The buses, which cost about $500,000 each, will join five existing Metro hybrids, added to the fleet in 2007. The hyrbids, says Cieslewicz, have worked out well. They’re quiet, emit much less exhaust than regular diesel buses, and get an estimated 20% to 30% better gas mileage.