OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6650

AN ACT CONCERNING ZERO EMISSION BUSES.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a fleet of zero emission buses “to be operated by the department at transit districts throughout the state” (see BACKGROUND). It requires at least 10% of DOT's new transit bus purchases, from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2014, to be zero emission buses. This requirement applies if purchasing such buses qualifies for federal “stimulus” funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Under the bill, zero emission buses are those that use fuel cell technology manufactured principally in Connecticut, or other zero emission technology.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

DISTRIBUTION OF ZERO EMISSION BUSES

The bill requires the zero emission buses DOT purchases to be assigned to or operated by transit districts at locations DOT identifies, in consultation with the transit districts and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, after review and assessment of transit district operations, refueling, and fleet locations consistent with the Connecticut Fuel Cell Economic Development Plan developed pursuant to state law.

BACKGROUND

Bus Transit Service in Connecticut

State law authorizes one or more municipalities to form a transit district through action of the legislative body or bodies. Only a portion of the bus transportation services in Connecticut are provided through transit districts. This includes several larger urban areas, including Bridgeport, Norwalk, Middletown, Milford, the Norwich-New London region, the greater Danbury area, and the lower Naugatuck valley. There are also transit districts in rural areas of the state, including Windham and the northeastern and northwestern areas of the state. There are 14 transit districts in all.

However, in Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford transit service is provided directly by state-owned Connecticut Transit without transit district involvement. The state owns all of the equipment and facilities and hires a private management company to operate the system. The state also provides transit services through contracts with private bus companies in some municipalities such as Bristol, Meriden, New Britain, Wallingford and Waterbury.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

36

Nay

0

(03/16/2009)