The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority , or ATA, is phasing itself out of the diesel bus business.
All future buses will run on compressed natural gas.
The death-knell of diesel dropped at a hearing of a special mayoral committee probing future funding of the transit agency.
The ATA has two buses operating on cleaner compressed natural gas or CNG.
Last week the agency governing board approved buying 23 more to be delivered in 2014.
KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer said he expects more if a grant is approved to add to the fleest of Johnson County Transit and Unified Government Transit in Wyandotte County.
Huffer said natural gas prices will rise slightly over the next 20 years, diesel much more. City Councilman Dick Davis, who used to manage ATA traded numbers with Huffer, saying, “I think the ATA uses 8 thousand gallons a day. So that’s major cost. “
Huffer cited using “about 3 million gallons a year on diesel and our projection is, on full conversion, (which is going to take a while) we would save two and a half million dollars a year on diesel.’”
The ATA manager said it will cost 5 or 6 million dollars to update garages to handle all CNG buses.
And all this will figure into a series of hearings between now and August to decide how to fund the bus system into the future.