Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, local leaders, SARTA officials break ground for State-Of-The-Art Hydrogen Fueling Facility
Ohio--Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and community leaders today helped the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority launch a new era of public transportation in Northeast Ohio at a ceremony marking the official groundbreaking for the transit authority’s new Hydrogen Fueling Facility. When completed the facility will service the fleet of seven zero-emission Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered buses that will begin operating on SARTA routes late in 2016 and throughout 2017. SARTA’s State-Of-The-Art fleet which is being built by the Integrated Product Team (IPT) of Ballard Power Systems, BAE Systems Controls, and El Dorado National will be the largest in the United States operating outside the state of California.
According to SARTA Executive Director Kirt Conrad, construction of the $1.6 million fueling facility, which is being funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation, marks the first visible step in the authority’s concerted effort to “use the energy of tomorrow to fuel SARTA today.”
“We’ve been working with Calstart, a national consortium of more than 150 companies, transit authorities and agencies dedicated to expanding and supporting clean transportation across the United States, for a number of years to secure funding for the project,” Mr. Conrad said. “The ODOT funding combined with grants from the Federal Transit Administration will be used to purchase seven Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered buses places us on the leading edge of utilizing and commercializing this innovative, zero-emission technology.”
“SARTA’s first of a kind transportation technology is fantastic for both the local community and Ohio,” said Lt. Governor Mary Taylor. “Innovative projects like this help diversify our economy and put Ohio on the map as a leader in alternative energy.”
Mr. Conrad noted that SARTA has embraced fuel cells for a number of reasons. “Along with enabling us to increase our fuel mileage as much as fifty percent in the years ahead and maintain our position as a leader in the use of green technology to fuel public transit, this project will drive investment, business creation and job growth in Ohio,” he said.
“A number of Ohio-based companies and Universities, including Stark State, OSU and Cleveland State, are heavily involved and invested in fuel cell-related R & D projects,” Mr. Conrad said. “Hydrogen is a practical, safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fuels. Transit systems across the nation and in other countries are beginning to deploy fleets of fuel cell-powered vehicles bristling with components and technology developed and manufactured in our state.”
“The fact is that the nation and the world is going to continue to search for clean alternatives to fossil fuels,” Mr. Conrad said. “We believe it is critically important to step forward and make Ohio the focal point of growth in this industry. If we hadn’t, the investment and jobs associated with fuel cells would have gone elsewhere.”
The transition to fuel cell vehicles is further demonstrated by Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai selling passenger automobiles in California, Germany, and Japan.