CCTA to receive increased funding, free to students

The Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA), which offers free bus service to all UVM students, will be receiving 12 new low-emission diesel buses. U.S. Sens Bernie Sanders and Patrick LeÂahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch announced the plans early last week.

The CCTA bus system will be receiving $3.1 million of appropriated funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation to purchase the buses that meet the 2007’s EPA standards for diesel buses. Without this grant, it may not have been possible for CCTA to make this large-scale upgrade of buses.

In July 2008, CCTA announced their intentions of cutting service and particular routes due to a budget deficit caused mainly by high fuel costs and a decline in riders.

CCTA also proposed to increase the fare of the bus trip made to Middlebury, from $3 each to $4.

But with rising fuel costs, the most economical way to travel is still by public transportation, Sanders, Leahy and Welch acknowledged that and set into motion a plan to revive the CCTA.

Along with promoting a thriving public transportation system, the congressmen made it possible for the CCTA to stay up-to-date with standards set by the EPA. The new buses will emit 95 percent less particulates and 75 percent less carbon monoxide than standard diesel buses.

Jared Alvord, a junior and President of Vermont Campus Energy Group, understands how important public transportation is.

“Of course buses pollute, but public transportation is a huge and important part to clean energy. UVM is moving forward with clean energy buses and it’s good to see the city of Burlington doing the same,” Alvord said.

Anyone that has been caught behind a bus while on a bicycle understands how crucial lowering particulate emissions is and, because the CCTA hub is in the heart of Burlington, the new buses will hopefully help to reduce the air pollution that could potentially develop.

“We want to reduce our overall fleet admissions. These buses are dramatically cleaner,” Chris Cole, General Manager of CCTA said.

The 12 new additions will replace 18-year-old buses, and, according to Cole, buses have a shelf life of 12 years. Eventually the entire CCTA fleet will turn over to low-emissions buses, but the process will be slow and expensive.