Vehicles: Alternative Fuel Replacement Vehicles – Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, California

The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) had an urgent need to replace diesel transit vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles. First, the California Air Resources Board had adopted a Fleet Rule for Transit Agencies and more stringent exhaust emission standards for bus engines and vehicles.  Second, the City of Santa Monica Big Blue Bus’ initiated a sustainable cities program that identified 10 different areas of focus, including public transportation.  The goal was to convert their entire bus fleet to Liquified Natural Gas and Compressed Natural Gas.  The program was so ahead of its time that the United Nations is now using it as a model for other cities around the world.  

In 2012, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $826.5 million in discretionary funds through three Fiscal Year 2012 grant opportunities: State of Good Repair, Bus Livability, and Clean Fuels.  The firm alerted BBB to the grant opportunity and worked with the FTA and the congressional delegation to prioritize the project.  Jordan & Associates was able to secure a $1.992 million grant award through the FTA’s fiscal year (FY) 2012 Bus Livability grant program. The funding allowed BBB to replace 15 year old diesel-fueled vehicles with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueled vehicles.  The project will reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions and maintenance and fuel costs.  Aside from cleaner emissions, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus is spending significantly less on fuel due to a 50-cent-per-gallon federal fuel tax credit, which results in an approximate $1.5 million annual savings.