King County has settled in on a 2012 budget and County Council member Larry Phillips points out some good news for many of the most important bus routes on and across Capitol Hill — $238.6 million to replace Metro’s aging fleet of 155 electric trolley buses. Apparently four buses have been decommissioned since the slide below was made in 2010 — it documents 159 buses.
A statement sent out by Phillips, head of the transportation committee, says the funding will ensure “trolley buses will keep rolling in Seattle for decades to come.” CHS documented some of the reasons this is especially good news here last spring. Metro has said its 25-year-old fleet needs to be replaced by 2014.
Passage of King County’s 2012 budget by the Metropolitan King County Council settles once and for all the debate over whether to replace Metro’s aging trolley bus fleet. The budget includes $238.6 million to replace Metro’s fleet of 100 40-foot trolleybuses and 55 60-foot trolley buses, ensuring that Seattle’s urban neighborhoods will continue to benefit from clean, quiet electric buses.
“I was pleased to support funding to keep our popular trolley buses rolling in our urban neighborhoods, cutting down on noise and pollution,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “A lifecycle cost analysis showed that replacing our existing aging trolley buses with new off-wire capable trolley buses is the most cost effective and beneficial investment for the people of King County.”
Metro’s trolley bus fleet has reached the end of its useful life. A performance audit of Metro raised questions about whether replacing the trolley buses with diesels could save money and recommended further study. Phillips sponsored a proviso in the 2011 Budget directing Metro to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of replacement options that would work best on current trolley routes. The evaluation concluded that electric trolley buses with off-wire capability to avoid construction and traffic blockages were the lowest cost, most beneficial option for replacing Metro’s trolley bus fleet.
With the passage of the budget, Metro will be issuing a Request for Procurement for new trolley buses by the end of this year and should have a contract in place by fall of 2012.