Pace celebrates completion of
Compressed Natural Gas garage
Pace first transit agency in Chicagoland to operate CNG-powered buses
Pace Suburban Bus, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), and local
and state officials gathered on July 25 to celebrate the completion of an
all-new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus garage at Pace's South Division
in Markham. Pace Board Chairman Richard Kwasneski, State Representative
Al Riley, RTA Board Chairman Kirk Dillard, Pace Board Member and Phoenix
Mayor Terry Wells, Pace Board Member Terrance Carr, and Pace Executive Director
T.J. Ross joined Richton Park Mayor Richard Reinbold, Country Club Hills
Mayor James Ford, Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward, Local 1028 ATU President Marlon
Graves; Pace and RTA staff, and other Pace stakeholders to commemorate the
new facility and buses. This property is now fully equipped to fuel, maintain
and service CNG buses.
"We consider ourselves innovators in the industry. There are 63 public
transit agencies in Illinois and we are one of three to operate CNG fleets,"
said Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski. "Lower fuel and maintenance costs
will allow Pace to save and reinvest the taxpayers' money into service across
the region. Lower emissions mean better air quality for the communities
we serve. We are really proud of this move and will explore this option
at our other facilities across the region."
"I've been involved in transportation a long time, even before I came
to the legislature. I was a transportation planner back in the day," offered
Al Riley, Illinois' 38th District Representative. "It is so great that Pace
is here to employ a lot of local people and help spur economic development
in our region. They are really walking the walk with these buses and this
facility shows that they are good stewards of our environment."
The updates to the garage, which include the CNG station, additional
generators, a total remodeling of the front office, driver's area and mezzanine
in the maintenance area, a new hot water heating system throughout the entire
building, and an upgraded ventilation system cost approximately $12 million
and was funded using Pace's Bond Program. The new South CNG bus fleet is
made up of 91 buses which cost $479,454.00 each and were funded by the RTA
with state dollars from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
The cost difference of a forty-foot CNG bus to a forty-foot diesel bus is
$52,275.82. This cost difference is expected to be recouped through fuel
cost savings. Those savings are projected to reach $1.486 million in 2018,
with annual savings varying based on diesel fuel costs.
"Pace is great at innovating. Imagine what they could do if they had
proper capital funding," said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard. "The RTA will continue
work with Pace and the other transit agencies in advocating for sustainable
capital funding, so we can bring more projects like this that benefit riders
throughout our region."
"Today is a celebration of a $61-million-dollar investment in Pace's
South Suburban service area," commented Pace Board Member and Phoenix Mayor
Terry Wells. "In addition to the approximately 300 employees here in Markham
and in South Holland, this project created approximately 200 direct and
indirect jobs. Reliable public transportation helps revitalize business
districts, allows employers to tap into larger workforces, builds economic
revenues and increases property values."