“I am extremely proud of AVTA’s tireless commitment in becoming the nation’s first transportation agency with a 100-percent, zero-emission battery electric fleet. It is because of AVTA’s leadership that residents of the Antelope Valley will be able to make it to work, school, and medical appointments in a more sustainable way both economically and environmentally," stated Lackey.
When the Board made the unanimous decision to move towards converting the existing fleet of diesel buses to an all-electric fleet, there were several key components to the overall plan. First and foremost was to secure the funding needed to purchase up to 85 battery electric buses, and the accompanying charging infrastructure. The Board directed AVTA staff to begin aggressively seeking competitive grant funding for the zero emission buses through the state’s Cap and Trade program, which is dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, as well as the state's Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) and other funding opportunities. With funding now fully in place for all of the buses and the battery charging facilities, AVTA is well positioned to finish the journey towards total electrification of its fleet.
"As a Board, we are very grateful for the efforts of both Senator Scott Wilk and Assemblyman Tom Lackey in helping us obtain funding for this amazing project. They have been instrumental in making our vision a reality," said AVTA Board Chairman Marvin Crist. "I am honored to have played a part in this groundbreaking initiative and excited for the sustainable future our valley is enjoying."
Since early 2017, AVTA has taken delivery of a large portion of the new 40-foot buses and has been operating several 60-foot electric buses from local manufacturer BYD, based in Lancaster, CA. Under Crist's leadership, AVTA successfully installed WAVE wireless charging stations at both Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park and the Palmdale Transportation Center, and on September 1, 2017, AVTA made history when they became the first transit agency in the world to put a 60-foot articulated electric bus into service.
Zero emission vehicles have been shown to greatly improve air quality and reduce traffic noise and congestion, and now the residents of the Antelope Valley may enjoy world class public transit services, cleaner air and a healthier environment for generations to come.
“Marvin has always gone the extra mile for our community and his work with the AVTA is no exception. His leadership has resulted in the Antelope Valley moving ahead of the rest of the nation in implementing an all-electric bus fleet. California may lead the nation on many issues, but because of Marvin's leadership the Antelope Valley Transit Authority now leads the nation on implementing a green bus fleet", said Senator Scott Wilk. "He is very deserving of this honor today.”
AVTA provides local, commuter and dial-a-ride service to a population of more than 450,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County. Its total service area covers 1,200 square miles and it is bounded by the Kern County line to the north, the San Bernardino County line to the east, the Angeles National Forest to the south, and Interstate 5 to the West.