New Orleans is getting some biodiesel buses… thanks to some money from the federal government.
This press release from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has given the city the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) $44 million to replace… and to upgrade… 204 buses and 31 vans that were destroyed by flooding during Hurricane Katrina:
The standing FEMA policy would have resulted in RTA receiving 204 buses that were 12 years old, to match the age of the vehicles they were replacing. Instead, FEMA has agreed to obligate the money for as many as 115 new biodiesel buses, which cost about $380,000 each…
“I am so glad that FEMA has agreed to replace the RTA fleet with the type of buses that are needed,” Sen. Landrieu said. “The existing FEMA policy was not designed to handle the loss of an entire transit fleet, and putting forward millions of taxpayer dollars to find and purchase 10-year-old buses that would have required combined maintenance and replacement within a couple of years would not have been an effective use of government funds.
Landrieu had been a longtime advocate of changing the FEMA policy.