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Council Members Ask MTA to Drop Diesel Bus Plan

May 20, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Ten members of the City Council on Friday called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board not to abandon the transit agency's clean fuel policy and buy 370 new diesel vehicles.

In a letter to the MTA board, written by City Councilman Mike Feuer, the council members praised the transit agency for exhibiting "unprecedented leadership" in adopting a policy in 1993 to purchase buses that run on cleaner burning alternative fuels. The approach has made the MTA the nation's leading operator of natural gas-powered buses.

But concerned about having too much of the bus fleet running on compressed natural gas, the MTA staff next Thursday will ask the board to approve the purchase of new diesel buses.

Although the MTA staff has argued that 370 diesel buses will be cheaper to buy and run than natural gas buses, the council members said the savings would be "far outweighed by the exorbitant public health costs" associated with the diesel buses.

A study by the Air Quality Management District found that nearly 70% of the cancer risk from airborne toxics in the Los Angeles region is caused by diesel exhaust.

In addition to Feuer, the letter was signed by council members John Ferraro, Cindy Miscikowski, Nate Holden, Joel Wachs, Rita Walters, Jackie Goldberg, Laura Chick, Nick Pacheco and Ruth Galanter.

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