Annually, TriMet uses an estimated 6 million gallons of diesel fuel every year in the Portland area, resulting in around 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and while riders who opt for transit instead of cars do help lower the amount of pollution, the agency admits this is still far from ideal.
TriMet’s executive director of public affairs, Bernie Bottomly, commented in an interview with The Oregonion, “We want to make an effort to move in this direction and address what is a gigantic issue around climate change.”
As such, the plan to cut back on diesel fuel was suggested as a long-term solution. The agency stated that new single battery-electric buses are being tested with a 2016 federal grant, and they are hoping to order 80 new battery-electric buses over the course of five years using $53 million allotted to TriMet in the 2017 statewide transportation package. But with battery-electric buses still in testing, TriMet is not sure if battery power is the long-term solution and is still searching for other alternative fuels, like hydrogen.
This year, the agency will discuss future sources of funds for the project, one possible proposal is to introduce a carbon-pricing bill in 2019.
Read The Oregonian article for more information on the TriMet project.