Flyer with MultDems logo and colors: Transform TriMet - Buy Electric Buses. Dates of meetings

Call to Action: Tell TriMet, Tell Metro No New Diesel Buses

Greta Thunberg said, “Act as if your house is on fire – because it is.” This is an emergency!

TL;dr What is Happening?

TriMet, the local transit operator, is planning to buy 159 diesel buses. In the face of a climate emergency, putting 159 polluting buses with a lifespan of 16 years each is just not acceptable.

What to do: Testify or Email for Clean Air and Climate Action

  • February 20th 2:00 p.m. Public Comment section of Metro Council’s agenda. 600 NE Grand Ave, Portland OR
  • February 26th 9:00 a.m. Public Forum section of TriMet Board’s agenda. 121 SW Salmon St., Portland, OR
  • February 27th 2:00 p.m. Public Comment section of Metro Council’s agenda. 600 NE Grand Ave, Portland OR

Submit testimony to Metro Council through this online form. If you submit by 10 am the day of the meeting, it will be in the minutes.

Send an email to boardtestimony@trimet.org.

Make Way for Electric Buses

Last fall, TriMet authorized a diesel bus buy of 159 buses over a 5 year purchase contract.

That’s 159 NEW DIESEL Buses, each with a lifetime of up to 16 years, on our roads – adding more CO2 to the planet’s atmosphere, and spewing more unhealthy diesel fumes into our already historically stressed neighborhoods.

We need to STOP this ‘Business as Usual’ NEW DIESEL bus buy! It is unacceptable!

Tell TriMet, Tell Metro – Clean Air! No NEW DIESEL Buses

Why are we going to the Metro Council? Metro has a fiduciary role in receiving Federa thel tax revenue spent on our transportation infrastructure.

TriMet gets funding from Metro and the State of Oregon.

Governor Brown appoints the TriMet Board. Metro Councilors are elected by the public.

Climate Change is a Public Health Emergency

Tell TriMet, Tell Metro – Clean Air! No NEW DIESEL BUSES.

On February 4, 2020 500 Oregon Health leaders from the Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) declared that Climate Change is a Public Health emergency.

Their policy recommendations include meeting and strengthening Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, and rapidly transitioning to renewable energy and zero-carbon emissions transportation systems.

Tell TriMet, Tell Metro – Clean Air! No NEW DIESEL BUSES. Climate Change is a Public Health Emergency

Historically underserved communities require equitable transit service – they do not need dangerously increased levels of pollution in their neighborhoods. An Equity lens places the first electric buses available on the Division Transit Project route.

We must STOP the Diesel Bus buy! No More Business as Usual, No NEW Diesel Buses! Electrify the Fleet!

There are two upcoming Metro Council meetings and a TriMet Board meeting in the next two weeks where we need to come together and take action and to shine a bright light on this bad decision. Provide testimony or come and support those who do. Can’t attend? Write to the TriMet Board, write to the Metro Council.

Do you or does someone you know take the bus? Live near a busline? Breathe the air? Do you or someone you know have asthma? Do you or someone you know work in a social justice, or healthcare field? Forward this to your friends or friendly organizations who might distribute to their members. THANK-YOU for your participation and involvement!

Debbie Gordon and Tracy Farwell, co-leads Natural Resources Protection and Recovery Work Group, aka the Multdems Climate Action Team

The attachments include:

TriMet FAQ and Call to Action

Call to Action on the backside of the TriMet FAQ sheet:

Clean Air! No More New Diesel Buses Climate Change is a Public Health Emergency

Greta Thunberg said, “Act as if your house is on fire – because it is.” This is an emergency!

Buying New Diesel Buses is going backwards. You can’t say your goal is to reduce emissions on the one hand and buy diesel buses which will produce emissions for 16 years on the other.

No more business as usual! We must put our resources into electrifying the fleet NOW!

Join Us to Take Action

Multnomah Democrats, led by the Climate Action Team

  1. Demand that TriMet’s regional peer authority, the publicly-elected Oregon Metro Council, acknowledge the call to action from the Oregon Public Health Association.

The TriMet management resolution for the 159 diesel bus buy (2019 Resolution -78) omitted public health criteria from any Source Evaluation Committee criteria or its weighted scoring.

  1. Reverse the $200M TriMet Board authorization for 159 New Diesel buses since it dismissed any consideration of Portland’s ongoing diesel public health threats. Moreover, regional transit operations that consume fossil fuels clearly constitute Portland public infrastructure and expanding the diesel fleet contradicts the court supported Portland ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure.
  2. Develop a formal Zero Emissions Fleet Transition Program, prioritize and secure funding (include in bond on the November ballot) and establish a program management office to get this job done on an emergency basis. TriMet can execute the program under close supervision.
  3. Require first electric buses on the Division Transit Project, relieving already stressed communities.

Take ACTION Tell Metro Council, Tell TriMet – NO NEW Diesel Buses

Come Testify and/or support others who do!

February 20th 2:00 p.m. Public Comment section of Metro Council’s agenda. 600 NE Grand Ave, Portland OR

February 26th 9:00 a.m. Public Forum section of TriMet Board’s agenda. 121 SW Salmon St., Portland, OR

February 27th 2:00 p.m. Public Comment section of Metro Council’s agenda. 600 NE Grand Ave, Portland OR

Presenting Testimony

  • Come early to sign up.
  • Bring 10 copies of your testimony. 2-3 minutes max.
  • Read your comments/letter and leave Board and Council Members copies for the public record.

Can’t attend? Write emails and submit online comments for the TriMet Board and Metro Council, which will be part of the public record:

Subject: Clean Air! No More New Diesel Buses

Body of email:

  • State your support for no new Diesel Buses, and for a plan for a Zero-Emissions Fleet ASAP!
  • Say who you are and why you care about cleaner air and stopping carbon emissions. “I am (a parent, grandparent, high school student…..) and I (have a child with asthma….am very concerned about climate change, want Oregon to lead on climate actions, etc.)
  • Ask for a response.
  • Sign with your name and location (city and zip code).

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about TriMet Diesel vs. Electric Buses

What is the size of TriMet’s fleet of buses?

The TriMet fleet is made up of 694 buses (10 electric), and diesel consumption is 6+ million gallons annually. TriMet plans to have 900 buses by 2040.

Why is TriMet Acquiring New Diesel Buses?

They say it is for normal replacement and for extending services. TriMet authorized a diesel bus buy of 159 buses over a 5 year purchase contract.* (A diesel bus purchased in 2024 would have a life of up to 16 years on the road.)

Didn’t the City of Portland ban new fossil fuel infrastructure?

Yes. December 18th, 2019, the Portland City Council voted to re-adopt a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Do we need more buses in East Portland?

Yes. The first 31 diesel buses are targeted for the Division Transit Project. An Equity lens requires both better, increased service to those historically underserved AND public health consideration.

Are there Non-Diesel Alternatives?

Yes. Seattle has committed to transitioning their fleet to battery electric buses, while still operating the legacy electric trolley buses. New York’s MTA is retiring all diesel buses, transitioning to an electric fleet. California has mandated electric buses.

Why is Diesel Bad? Why should I care if TriMet buys 159 New Diesel buses?

The transport sector (40% of Portland’s carbon pollution) is the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions that contribute to global warming. Diesel produces long-lived carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, short-lived black carbon, and ground level ozone – all producing very unhealthy air, with increased levels of asthma and other breathing disorders.

What do the Scientists and Health Professionals say?

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Special Report 15 (SR15) states that it is too dangerous to reduce carbon emissions any less than 45% in ten years’ time. On Feb. 4th 500 Oregon Health leaders from the Oregon Public Health Association declared that Climate Change is a Public Health emergency. Their policy recommendations include meeting and strengthening Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, transitioning to renewable energy and to zero-carbon emissions transportation systems. **

What is TriMet Doing About the Transition to Clean Fuels?

TriMet is duplicating the same kind of clean fuel evaluation other transit operators have already completed. TriMet’s few electric buses are being evaluated.

Has the TriMet Set a Target Date for Retiring the Diesel Fleet?

Their commitment is for zero diesel buses in 2040, not zero emissions.

What is the relationship between TriMet and Metro?

Metro has a fiduciary role in receiving Federal tax revenue to be expended on transportation infrastructure. TriMet gets funding from Metro and the State of Oregon.

Clean Air! No More New Diesel Buses Climate Change is a Public Health Emergency

Greta Thunberg said, “Act as if your house is on fire – because it is.” This is an emergency!

Buying New Diesel Buses is going backwards. You can’t say your goal is to reduce emissions on the one hand and buy diesel buses which will produce emissions for 16 years on the other. No more business as usual! We must put our resources into electrifying the fleet NOW!