PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — CityLink on Wednesday unveiled three new Proterra zero emission electric buses.
“It means cleaner air, less carbon footprint after we get done, [and] no reliability on the fossil fuels,” said CityLink General Manager Doug Roelfs.
Each bus will save approximately 230,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, according to CityLink. The buses were designed and manufactured in the United States.
“We’ve got to do this for our kids, our grandkids. We have to do it for future generations,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline). “This is going to be the way public transit is run going forward.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the buses will reduce air pollution, reduce operating expenses and address climate change.
“These buses are billboards too. They’re sending a message to the community that this can be done. They’re practical, [and] they’re economical,” he said.
Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria), who chairs the Congressional Bus Caucus, said the buses are effective and efficient for the community.
“To hear how quiet these buses are, to see how efficient these buses are, and what they’re going to do for the environment, it’s really a win-win-win,” LaHood said.
Durbin said the community owes it to future generations to invest in eco-friendly solutions.
“If we don’t take this seriously, we are turning our backs on our kids and grandkids and the earth that they’re going to have to live on. If we have to make a change, a sacrifice at this moment in our lives, it’s not too much to ask,” Durbin said.
Bus 2041 was funded by a $1.23 million settlement between the owners of E.D. Edwards coal-fired plant in Bartonville and several environmental groups. The settlement requires the plant to close by the end of 2022 and provides $8.6 million for local projects, including electric buses.
As part of the settlement terms, Bus 2041 will serve routes in poor neighborhoods in Peoria that are located close to the plant for the first five years.
Bus 2042 and Bus 2043 were funded by a $2.3 million federal grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Bus Program, which funds the transition to energy-efficient buses.
Each bus was uniquely wrapped to distinguish them from the rest of CityLink’s fleet.
Bus 2041 was designed by the Edwards settlement plaintiffs and community partners and features a cartoon electric bus character. Bus 2402 and Bus 2403 were designed by local graphic designer Angie Walker and feature a lightning bolt design and a hot air balloon design, respectively.
Roelfs said the three buses are just the beginning, and as funding becomes available, they will add more.
The buses will hit the road in October and will replace three diesel-powered buses. CityLink’s fleet of 53 buses already have four hybrid buses.