National Journalreports the Transportation Department's Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program has spent nearly half its $100-million grant budget to replace diesel buses with hybrid-electric and fully electric models.
The "TIGGER" grants are part of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program and are designed to serve two purposes: stimulate the economy and clean the environment.
Proponents of the "cash for buses" program say it will create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Nick Loris, a researcher in energy and environment issues at The Heritage Foundation, says that is not accurate.
"What they're saying is that [these buses] have better fuel economy and there's less maintenance, and that may be the case. These buses may be better -- but if that's the case, they shouldn't need taxpayer dollars to help these companies fund them," Loris continues. "Bus companies can make those decisions on their own if these buses are economically competitive with diesel buses."
A transit operator with Connecticut's Bureau of Public Transportation says his agency would not have invested in the hybrid buses if the federal money was not available. He notes the hybrids are "not dollar-for-dollar cost-effective in hard cash."
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