Michael Mcdevitt, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 8:10 p.m. MT Nov. 4, 2019 | Updated 8:14 p.m. MT Nov. 4, 2019
LAS CRUCES – The city council voted 6-1 Monday to award a $325,000 contract to a company to advise the city on adding battery-electric buses to its transit fleet.
District 1 councilor Kasandra Gandara voted against the resolution.
The contract was awarded to the Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment. Under it, CTE will act as a consultant for the implementation of an electric bus fleet. As a “project manager,” CTE will plan and oversee the purchase of electric buses and charging stations and manage the implementation of the bus program from start to finish.
The contract lasts for three years, through 2022, and allows for two one-year renewals. That option is meant to act as a buffer if progress on the bus implementation stalls, such as if there’s delays in manufacturing of the vehicles or in installation of charging stations.
The plan is for the buses to be depot-charged, Transit Administrator Mike Bartholomew said. That means they’ll recharge at night when they’re out of service. Bartholomew said the city expects CTE to finish drafting a request for proposal for the purchase of electric buses in March 2020.
Once CTE puts out a proposal request and finds a company to provide Las Cruces with buses, Bartholomew said the city plans on buying five electric buses to replace some of the older buses in the current RoadRUNNER Transit fleet.
Bartholomew said the city also plans to use project funds to buy charging stations and to test, monitor and report on the implementation of the project.
In 2017, the city was awarded a $1.45 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to buy and implement electric buses as part of a program to lower emissions. Since then, the award was combined with several other grants to create a $4.4 million bus project, according to the contract resolution.
The first step of the project, which the CTE contract fulfills, was to procure “project management services.”
Of the 23 firms solicited to work with the city, only CTE submitted a proposal, city purchasing manager Chenyu “Alex” Liu told the council. A selection advisory committee reviewed CTE’s proposal in March and gave a recommendation to award it a contract.
Bartholomew called CTE the “premier company” for implementing electric buses in metropolitan areas. The company has worked with cities such as Los Angeles; Spokane, Washington; Santa Monica, California; and Gainesville, Florida to either partially or totally convert their bus fleets to electricity.
The company says on its website it has 99 active projects in 30 states and claims to have reduced carbon emissions by more than 4.7 million tons.
Bartholomew told the council that while RoadRUNNER Transit plans to replace five of the buses in its fleet of 20 “6 route” transit buses with the electric ones, they’ll also continue working toward converting the entire fleet.
More city council news:
- Las Cruces neighborhood wins concession from city council over new development
- Council to fast track study on skatepark repairs
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