AVTA Honored with 2016 Sustainability Award for Excellence

Lancaster – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has been selected to receive the 2016 Sustainability Award for Excellence in Green Region Initiative by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

This prestigious award, which will be presented to AVTA at the 2016 SCAG Regional Conference and General Assembly in May, recognizes excellence in planning efforts from local agencies in sustainability. AVTA was selected to receive the award for its "100% Green in 2018" Electric Bus Conversion Project, a comprehensive plan to convert its entire fleet to all-electric zero emission buses over the next three years.

"Each year, SCAG honors projects that best exemplify the core principles of sustainability, and promote a cleaner, healthier, and happier Southern California," said Board Chair Marvin Crist. "We are extremely proud to be recognized for our commitment to emission-free public transportation in our community and beyond."

AVTA's plan to convert to all-electric buses was a perfect fit for the SCAG award's Green Region Initiative category, which evaluated the potential of AVTA's project to address climate change through the reduction of emissions, to promote energy efficiency and savings, and to promote overall sustainability on various resource issues.

The environmental benefits of AVTA's plan to move to a zero-emission transportation system include the reduction of harmful air pollutants, improved air quality, a 50 percent reduction in noise pollution, and higher energy efficiency. In addition, the electric batteries that power the buses are safe, non-toxic and maintenance free, resulting in no hazardous diesel or diesel emission fluids needed for bus maintenance.

SCAG is the nation's largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents. The association undertakes a variety of planning and policy initiatives to encourage a more sustainable Southern California, now and in the future. "AVTA has demonstrated transformational leadership on a regional, state and national level with the size and scope of their bus electrification project," said Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hofbauer, who also serves as the Antelope Valley's Regional Council and Transportation Committee representative to SCAG. “Although there were a number of impressive projects under consideration for this award, AVTA's accomplishments in the area of innovative and sustainable transit create a new paradigm for zero-emission transportation in Southern California."

The transit agency plans to purchase up to 85 electric buses over the next five-years, and its Board of Directors recently voted to award a contract to BYD Motors to manufacture the buses at the BYD factory in Lancaster. Another key component of the project will be an in- ground wireless charging system, which will be installed at various locations around the Antelope Valley. AVTA is also in the design phase to develop a hard-wire charging system to allow for overnight charging of the entire electric fleet at its bus yard..

"The SCAG Sustainability Award is a true validation of our efforts to implement electric bus technology here in the Antelope Valley," stated Executive Director Len Engel. "Our conversion to an all-electric zero emission fleet will bring positive change to our community, and will go a long way toward preserving and even improving the quality of life we enjoy." AVTA provides local, commuter and dial-a-ride service to a population of more than 450,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County. Its total service area covers 1,200 square miles and it is bounded by the Kern County line to the north, the San Bernardino County line to the east, the Angeles National Forest to the south, and Interstate 5 to the West.

Photo :AVTA

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