Lackawanna County's new hybrid vehicles

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Lackawanna County's new hybrid vehicles

Postby StephanieCutts » Mon May 25, 2009 10:25 pm

County shows off hybrids during expo
By Charles Schillinger (Staff Writer)
Published: May 21, 2009

Lackawanna County's new hybrid vehicles on display on Courthouse Square on Thursday. (Charles Schillinger / Staff photo)

If commissioners are looking to beef up the county's environmental credentials, Sierra Club officials say they are off to a good start.

Lackawanna's new fleet of 10 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrids was on display during an expo commissioners kicked off Thursday morning, along with a hybrid bus similar to what will replace the county's public transit fleet of 30 buses by 2012.

"You look at what they're doing here and I really think this shows this is a progressive community," said Frank Muraca, with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club in Northeast Pennsylvania.

The expo, an opportunity for taxpayers to kick the tires on the new hybrids, will continue Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the downtown courthouse square.

The hybrids were purchased by commissioners Corey O'Brien, Mike Washo and A.J. Munchak in March at a cost of about $25,000. Commissioners said they were confident the extra cost - the regular Malibu costs around $20,000 - would be offset through fuel savings.

The county transportation authority also approved the purchase of four hybrid buses this week for $2.2 million, paid for with federal stimulus money, said executive director Bob Fiume. Buses are expected to arrive late next year.

The next step would be to replace the remaining 24 COLTS buses, which would cost around $12 million, Mr. Fiume said. Buses, for the most part, are paid for with federal transportation dollars.

The hybrid buses cost significantly more - approximately $500,000 compared to about $300,000 for a regular bus - but there would be at least a 25 percent savings in operating costs, said Jerry Sheehan, the regional sales manager for Hayward, Calif.-based Gillig Corp., from which the county is purchasing its hybrid buses.

The buses also are much quieter and produce 90 percent less emissions, he said.
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