FORESTVILLE, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan’s plan to widen I-495 might not be the only way around crippling traffic on the Capital Beltway. Planners in Prince George’s County say that more transit should be the solution-- and they have a way to do it without fossil fuels.
Known simply as “The Bus,” the white and blue Prince George’s County buses are about to go green.
“It’s the future,” said Terry Bellamy, head of Prince George’s County Public Works and Transportation. It was just awarded a $2.2 million grant from the federal government to buy battery-powered buses.
“It’s very important when you look across the country and as well as the world we’re the last to move to electric buses so it’s a big deal,” said Bellamy.
Bellamy says new buses will put off fewer emissions and less sound. Right now, the county uses buses powered by diesel and propane.
“As far as our riders go you will be riding on a very quiet kind of bus,” said Bellamy. “You won’t see the diesel and you won’t see the smoke.”
Bellamy says new buses will likely look like the already electric D.C. Circulator buses. The grant buys four buses and charging stations. But, with a 200-mile range, not all routes in the county will see the buses right away. Expect them near the University of Maryland and National Harbor first.
“It’ll be a big shift,” said Bellamy.
The move makes up five percent of the county’s total bus fleet. Bellamy hopes he’s just starting down a road toward entirely electric buses.
“It’s part of the new paradigm as far as having clean energy vehicles,” said Bellamy.
Prince George’s County was among 38 transit agencies in 38 states to receive grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.