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MTA board votes to replace Tulsa's remaining diesel buses with electric

Tulsa Metropolitan Transit Authority

With the approval of a purchase Friday, Tulsa's Metropolitan Transit Authority will phase out its five remaining diesel buses.

The Transit Authority’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted Friday to purchase seven electric buses for roughly $1.3 million each. Transit Authority Maintenance Director Randy Cloud said they'll replace the city's remaining diesel units.

The electric buses will be in Tulsa in two years, Cloud said.

Most of Tulsa’s buses use compressed natural gas, which produce fewer carbon emissions than diesel.

Cloud said it doesn’t make sense to go fully electric in this part of the country.

"We experienced the storm back on Father’s Day, where a lot of people were without electricity for a week. If your fleet’s totally electric and you have a storm like that where the power grid goes down for multiple days, we have no buses on the street.

Trustee Phyllis Joseph agreed with Cloud’s approach.

"Any time anything comes up new, you always have to have a backup with the old, OK? And so that’s where I come from. I don’t know if it makes sense how many buses to buy here and there, because I rely on you guys to tell us that. But conceptually, I like the idea that you don’t have a plan to go all electric, because I don’t know if you have enough information at this point," she said.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.