FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2008
Director of Planning and Marketing
(805) 483-3959, ext 116
Gold Coast Transit Hosts Press Conference Featuring Congresswoman Lois Capps
On Friday, August 8th, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), 23rd Congressional District of California addressed an audience of transit supporters at the Gold Coast Transit facility in Oxnard, CA about her continuing focus on clean fuels and helping the nation’s transit systems transition off of fossil fuels. Congresswoman Capps’ 23rd District includes the Gold Coast Transit (GCT) service area, which encompasses the cities of Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura and the western portions of Ventura County.
Congresswoman Capps was joined by GCT Board Vice Chair and Ventura County Supervisor John Flynn (5th District) and Oxnard City Councilmember Andres Herrera, both of whom have long supported the expansion of public transit in the western portions of Ventura County.
Deborah Linehan, General Manager of GCT welcomed Congresswoman Capps and highlighted GCT’s dedication to improving the environment through the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) to fuel its entire fleet of transit vehicles. Gold Coast Transit – formerly known as South Coast Area Transit – was one of the first transit properties in California to adopt CNG as its permanent fuel and to purchase vehicles that operated exclusively on the fuel.
Ms. Linehan also thanked the Congresswoman for helping to secure over $870,000 in Federal Transit Administration Discretionary grants towards the construction of the new $2.9 million CNG fueling facility that will replace the 12 year old station that has outlived its useful life. The new facility construction is currently underway, with completion scheduled for November, 2008.
"The decision made over 14 years ago to use CNG exclusively to fuel buses and staff cars has been proven to be financially beneficial in many ways,” said Linehan. “The price of CNG is significantly lower than diesel fuel, which most transit properties use to power their buses. GCT pays $1.23 per gasoline gallon equivalent for CNG, while the lowest priced diesel fuel in Ventura County sells for $4.49. GCT is saving over $2.6 million dollars annually by using CNG compared to diesel.”
Congresswoman Capps spoke of the example set by GCT for all transit systems that are seeking to convert their fleets. She noted that her reason for coming today was to thank GCT for setting an example to other transit systems. “People are eager to choose public transportation when they can count on its reliability. This is a clean, quiet, efficient way to get around.”
Ms. Capps observed that the impacts of the high price of gasoline is being felt throughout the Central Coast, putting a strain on family budgets as well as our economy. “What I’m hoping will happen is that, with this increased ridership, people will continue the habit they started and use the bus regularly, even on weekends.” She said that while sustained ridership is our goal, it is also stretching the capacities of transit systems to accommodate the demand for more seats and service. To help in this effort, the Congresswoman spoke of her vote for several key measures to provide relief by addressing high energy costs. Among these is House Resolution 6052, The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008, passed by a vote of 328-198 in June. H.R. 6052 appropriates funds to support public transit systems that, despite higher operating costs, are willing to reduce fares to make riding transit more cost effective and attractive. “This legislation would increase federal support for local agencies in their efforts to provide more service."
Ms. Capps and the media were provided with detailed fact sheets about GCT and the new fueling station and given a tour of the new construction site.