For L.A. Metro, natural-gas buses are clean and simple choice

By Marcus Gillette, Guest Commentary, LA Daily News.

This May, the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitcan Transportation Authority (Metro) will vote on a decision to replace 1,000 aging diesel buses with a combination of new compressed-natural gas (CNG) models fueled by renewable natural gas and electric buses.

Because of their immediate availability, affordability and “cleaner-than electric’” characteristics, 800 of the new busses would be fueled by renewable natural gas. Because electric models are exponentially more expensive and because electric bus technology is still unproven and unreliable over long-distance routes such as those serviced by L.A. Metro, the remaining 200 are slated to be electric — to serve as a test program for future electrification of the transit agency.

However, some electric bus advocates are willing to disregard facts and risk decades of continued dependence on diesel.

In a guest commentary, “View from Porter Ranch: Metro must go electric to avoid more natural-gas risk” (Daily News, March 26), writer Patricia Larcara’s premise is that Metro should forego its use of natural-gas buses because of the leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

The Southern California Gas Co. leak is unfortunate and should continue to be mitigated, and while the residents and environment surrounding Aliso Canyon continue to be on everyone’s mind, we must not confuse the issue or overlook the facts.