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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau’s fleet of buses will remain primarily diesel-fueled for the next few years.

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly recently voted to allocate grant funding from the Federal Transit Authority toward the purchase of six diesel buses to replace aging buses on the Capital Transit fleet, the Empire reported .

Assembly members discussed at length whether they could find a way to replace old buses with electric vehicles.

The main issue Assembly members faced is that this is likely the last time the city will be able to secure grants from the authority until 2021.

Streets, Fleet and Transit Superintendent Ed Foster said electric buses are about twice as expensive as diesel buses, so the city would not have been able to replace all its old buses if it went electric.

“Right now I have three buses that have over 600,000 miles on them that have been on the road for 14 years and I have mechanics who are working their butts off to keep them on the road,” Foster said, “and I’ve got four more that I’m trying to replace next year that are right on their heels, over 500,000 miles and they’ve been on the road for 12 years.”

Assembly members eventually agreed with Foster that the need is too severe to risk not approving the funding for the diesel buses. But Assembly member Jesse Kiehl said he was worried about committing to sticking with mostly diesel buses for at least the next four years.

Kiehl compared this decision to committing to buying a cellphone that will be out of date in four years.

“I just can’t support locking in next year’s buses on diesel again and not opening the window until 2021,” Kiehl said.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire,