The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) is facing strong opposition from state Rep. Stan Saylor for its decision to keep using hybrid diesel-electric uses rather than ones run on compressed natural gas. Saylor, the House majority whip, said most recently that if SEPTA continues this practice, the state legislature should cut its funding.
SEPTA purchased 245 new buses—160 of which are hybrids—in March as part of a four-year contract. In support of its decision, the agency said that the hybrid buses are less expensive and offer comparable emissions benefits to the compressed natural gas.
SEPTA offered to switch to natural gas electricity for its rail system as an alternative to Saylor’s proposal. The agency receives approximately 48 percent of its $1.3 billion operating budget from the state.
Saylor argues that natural gas is actually the more cost-effective and environmentally friendly technology. He is part of a movement for increased use of compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel source; his stated goal is to move every mass-transit system in the state to natural gas operation.