In the next few years, Go Pasco — the county’s public transportation system — may begin to go electric.
Kurt Scheible, director of the county’s transit system, briefed the board of the Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization about the potential for obtaining federal funds to begin rolling electric buses on local roads within a few years.
“Things don’t happen overnight, but we do want to move forward toward something like that because I do think it is just beneficial for both Pasco County and the environment,” Scheible said.
Plus, the buses are quieter and have fewer vibrations.
Because there are less vibrations, Scheible said, “they’re actually a little bit safer.”
He explained why they’re safer: “You fly on a plane and you’re tired and you haven’t done anything — it’s just the vibrations that you’re with. It’s the same type of thing (for bus drivers).”
He told the MPO board that it will likely be about a two-year process to get local and federal funding together to acquire the buses.
“The good news is that we were with PSTA (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) when they went out for the electric bus bid. We were part of that, so we’ll be able to use that contract to purchase the buses,” Scheible said.
Once he knows the cost, then the transit authority can get the MPO board’s input and move forward with seeking federal funding for the buses.
His best guess is that Pasco would get eight or nine electric buses and a charging station, with federal funding covering the lion’s share of the cost.
Scheible expects to use the buses along U.S. 19, which is traveled by about one-third of the county’s transit customers.
He estimated the electric buses will cost about $1 million each and the charging station likely will cost about the same amount.
Federal funding will be sought to pay for the buses and the charging station, he said.
The charging station would likely be on the north end of U.S. 19, on U.S. 52, where there’s an existing substation, Scheible said.
He told the Pasco MPO board members to stay tuned because he expects to bring them updates on the issue in coming months.
The Pasco County MPO is the lead transportation planning agency in Pasco County that serves the following municipalities in Pasco: Zephyrhills, San Antonio, St. Leo, New Port Richey, Port Richey and Dade City.
According to federal and state laws, the Pasco County MPO is responsible for establishing a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process for Pasco County. Key responsibilities are the creation of the 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the five-year Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), and the five-year Transportation Improvement program.
The MPO board is made up of representatives of the Pasco County Commission and elected leaders from Zephyrhills, Dade City, New Port Richey and Port Richey.
Published January 05, 2022