MBTA’s plan for diesel hybrid buses does little toward climate goals, but we can change plan
Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts, and its reduction demands a two-pronged approach: to shift people away from single-passenger vehicles toward public transit, bicycles and walking; and simultaneously to electrify all motorized forms of transit.
The MBTA’s Capital Investment Plan is an opportunity to make significant progress on both. The plan opened for public comment Monday; comments can now be made online. The plan includes procurement of 460 diesel hybrid buses, effectively converting the entire fleet to polluting hybrids. While comparable in price, hybrid vehicles release double the emissions of their electric counterparts, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, and represent a minimal reduction from fully diesel buses.
Public comment is our opportunity to push the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority toward a goal of a fully electric fleet by 2030. Fulfilling this goal will be a significant step toward healthier air for Boston area residents and the 50 percent reduction in transportation emissions required by recent climate legislation.
Mallorie Barber, Hollis Street