Capital Metro held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, December 15 to celebrate the MetroRapid Expo Center groundbreaking. The groundbreaking was held at LBJ Early College High School, with several U.S. and state officials speaking at the ceremony, including U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, Texas Representatives Celia Israel and Sheryl Cole, Travis County Commissioner and Capital Metro Vice Chair Jeff Travillion, and Austin Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison. Also present were Capital Metro CEO & President Randy Clarke, AISD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde, CapMetro and AISD staff and community members.
The groundbreaking is part of the Project Connect program of projects, which includes four new MetroRapid routes that enhance frequency and quality of service. The new Expo Center Route will connect East Austin to the University of Texas and Downtown Austin.
For this new route, the transit agency will be using electric buses. Project Connect envisions a zero-emissions bus fleet, and CapMetro made great progress when the agency placed the largest order of electric transit buses in the United States in September 2021. The first fleet of buses will arrive in December 2022, and the delivery of the 197 new electric buses will expand CapMetro’s zero-emissions fleet to more than 200 electric buses. The new buses are being manufactured by Proterra and New Flyer and will expand the fleet for the new Expo Center and Pleasant Valley MetroRapid lines.
The community will benefit from the zero-emissions features of the buses, with annual savings of approximately 230,000 pounds of greenhouse gases when compared with diesel. Additional benefits include reduced air pollution, noise level, and heat and fuel costs, all powered by clean electric energy. The new electric vehicles come with state-of-the-art technology and engineering, including USB charging ports, plug-in and overhead charging, open seating floor plan and passenger digital display, just to name a few.
The MetroRapid Expo Center groundbreaking was a major milestone for CapMetro, and the use of electric buses on the route will further the transit agency’s goal of providing safe, clean and equitable transportation for the community and generations to come.
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