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The Next Step in Transportation: Buses as Clean, Green Machines

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This Thursday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will take another bold step forward in to greening our bus fleet. We already have the largest clean fuel fleet in the country, but in a motion I introduced with fellow board members Supervisor and MTA Board Chair Don Knabe and Supervisor Michael Antonovich, we asked the MTA to begin transitioning to higher evolved clean, zero-emission buses such as electric. It is time we send the message loud and clear that Los Angeles is no longer just the car capital - we are in fact on track to being the cleanest, greenest big city that also boasts a robust, world-class public transportation system.

At the next MTA meeting, we will be voting to ratify a new pilot program to use 30 electric buses on a trial basis. This initial pilot program will allow us to truly understand if electric buses do in fact save money and are more efficient. After a careful evaluation, and if if the program is successful, we will be able to implement the program on a much larger scale -- setting a national precedent and spurring our local green economy.

This is not the first time we've rallied to support the benefits of green buses to our environment and our economy. Measure R, the half percent transportation sales tax, provided $150 million in funding to buy additional clean buses. And we didn't stop there with Measure R's potential -- we are creating a launch pad for a national infrastructure rebuilding and jobs program: America Fast Forward.

The next step is to encourage bus companies to manufacture locally. My office will be working with the MTA Board to encourage bus companies to move to Los Angeles and take advantage of our government procurement opportunities as well as our competitive business environment. With unemployment still hovering in the double digits, we're not letting a moment go--we're maximizing this opportunity, creating thousands of green-paying jobs, and generating much-needed revenue for our City.

I am proud that after much hard-work from my office and the MTA, this program is finally coming to fruition. In a few mere days, Los Angeles will the lead the nation in spearheading an innovative plan that will help improve our air quality, reduce traffic, create green-paying jobs and modernize our public transportation system. So hop on the bus and please join me in supporting a cleaner, greener Los Angeles!

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