Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/14/11 - Major Projects & Legislative Committee Meeting Recap

The Major Projects & Legislative Committee met Monday and received a summary of HART capital projects under development, design and construction. View HART at Work, which provides details for each project that impacts current and future public transit facilities, including the Yukon Park-n-Ride, MetroRapid North-South and East-West, Transit Signal Priority, new park-n-ride facilities in Brandon and in Northeast Hillsborough County, and the Basic Transit Infrastructure Program. It also includes a map that demonstrates the geographical range these projects have across Hillsborough County. You could say public transit improvements are coming to a zip code near you!

No need to mention the improvements underway at the 21st Avenue Facility -- most employees are working through this major renovation project. Thank you for your patience! Construction is scheduled through Fall 2012.

The Major Projects & Legislative Committee also held a discussion about the importance of securing federal or state funding to incrementally implement the use of CNG at HART.

"Compressed Natural Gas is one of the most effective fuel technologies for public transit," said HART Chief Executive Officer Philip Hale, adding that especially in Florida's hot weather, CNG-fueled vehicles operate more efficiently than diesel-hybrid vehicles. The battery power of a diesel-hybrid bus is not enough to run the ongoing air conditioning system needed for a bus that operates under Florida's extended warm and humid weather conditions.

Natural gas is colorless, shapeless, and odorless in its pure form. It is abundant in the United States, and when burned it gives off a great deal of energy and few emissions. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas is clean burning and emits lower levels of potentially harmful byproducts into the air. Most natural gas vehicles operate using compressed natural gas (CNG).

HART is working with the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization to undertake project development work identifying the specific requirements to support CNG vehicles at the HART maintenance facility. Project development is required to effectively compete for federal and state monies that would fund such a project.