November/December 1996, p.5
New Yorker's, whose lungs now act as air filters for cancer-causing diesel particulates, might soon be breathing easier. Under heavy pressure from the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental advocates, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) says it will add 500 clean natural gas buses over the next five years to its 3,500-hus fleet. The buses will go into service in Brooklyn and Queens. The MTA will also buy 1,200 new diesel buses over this same period. The new diesels aren't as clean as tlie alternative fuel buses, but they produce 70-80% less particulate than the current diesel stinkers.
The city Department of Transportation plans to double its fleet of natural gas buses to more than 300, adding them to the franchise buses operated by Queens Transit and other outer borough carriers. The DOT seems headed toward a no-new-diesels policy - something the MTA is resisting. Unfortunately, no relief is in sight for Manhattan, the borough hardest hit by diesel soot. Problems with asbestos have stopped plans to create a natural gas bus depot in northern Manhattan. Just the same, it's long past time that the MTA stopped dragging its feel and kicked diesel buses out of Manhattan.
If you value breathing,
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