Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are being used to replace 10 StarTran HandiVan vehicles and three fixed-route buses with hybrid vehicles. The 25-foot vehicles will be powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity.
The City has already received one of the hybrid HandiVans, and it will be on display at the Earth Day Celebration from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at Antelope Park. The HandiVan will be part of an alternative transportation expo at the celebration. Mayor Beutler will kickoff the celebration at 2 p.m. at the Antelope Park bandshell. The vehicles operate on electrical power up to 35 mph. The gasoline engine recharges batteries and provides power at higher speeds.
"This is great news for StarTran patrons, our budget and our environment," said Mayor Beutler. "The stimulus dollars are helping us replace some of our aging StarTran vehicles. At the same time, the new hybrids offer a 20 to 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. I commend all those who worked so hard to bring these stimulus funds to our community so we can continue to provide public transportation that is low cost and environmentally friendly."
Each vehicle cost $118,000, and stimulus funds covered $64,000 of that amount, with federal transportation funds covering the rest.
The StarTran HandiVan program offers door-to-door transportation to qualified citizens with disabilities. About 36,000 people use HandiVan services each year. The 10 HandiVan vehicles will replace seven-year-old vehicles that have exceeded their effective life span. The three fixed-route buses will be used on downtown shuttles and neighborhood routes. All of the new vehicles are expected to be on the street by early June.
For more information on StarTran bus service, call 476-1234 or visit startran.lincoln.ne.gov.
The Earth Day celebration includes entertainment, family activities, exhibits and displays. At 4 p.m., photographer Michael Forsberg will be at the Auld Pavilion to show his work and speak about the conservation of our natural resources. More information on Saturday's Earth Day events is available at lincolnearthday.org.