New Jersey Transit is spending up to $10 million over the next several years to keep its fleet of compressed natural-gas buses up and running.
The nation’s third-largest operator of a mass-transit system has signed a multiyear contract with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to maintain its 147 CNG commuter buses, according to officials.
The contract includes rebuilding a large compressed natural-gas fueling station in Howell Township, where three compressor stations already exist, said Jim Smith, a spokesman for NJ Transit.
Under the contract, the Newport Beach, CA, natural-gas transportation company will design, build, and maintain the vehicles for 10 years following completion of construction, Smith said.
“The new CNG system will be better serve the current needs,’’ Smith said. The bulk of the money to fund the contract is coming from the federal government.
The deal is the first with NJ Transit, according to Jason Johnston, a spokesman for Clean Energy Fuels. “To get someone like this is absolutely huge for us,’’ Johnston said. The company builds and operates CNG and liquefied natural-gas (LNG) fueling stations and delivers more CNG and LNG fuel than any company in the United States.
NJ Transit is transforming its fleet of buses to run on cleaner fuels. Last summer it agreed to spend $395 million over the next six years to buy 772 commuter coaches that use advanced clean-diesel technology.
Transportation is a major source of air pollution, including smog, or ground-level ozone, a pollutant for which the state has consistently failed to meet federal clean-air standards. Transportation is also the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change.