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Lawmaker Demands MTA Cancel Plans For Diesel Buses During L Train Outage

By Gwynne Hogan | May 23, 2017 12:29pm
 State Senator Brad Hoylman is pushing for electric buses during the 15-month shutdown. 
State Senator Brad Hoylman is pushing for electric buses during the 15-month shutdown. 
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

UNION SQUARE — A state lawmaker is calling on the MTA to cancel its plans to use 200 diesel buses to make additional trips between Manhattan and Brooklyn during the 2019 L train shutdown.

"I urge your agency to cancel this contract, dramatically increase the number of hybrid and electric buses on our streets, and take robust action to invest in a healthier, greener New York," State Senator Brad Hoylman wrote in a letter to the MTA last week.

"As the impact of climate change looms larger every year, New York must step up and lead in environmentally friendly transportation," he said, in the May 17 letter. "While I understand that the MTA is beholden to financial restrictions, I must ask, at what cost to our environment?"

Senator Hoylman's objections to the use of diesel buses during the L train shutdown add to the concerns earlier voiced by city councilmen Stephen Levin and Rafael Espinal who rallied for electric buses during L train work in late April, several days before the MTA's board approved a measure to set aside 200 diesel buses.

During the L train shutdown in April 2019, the MTA is planning to add additional bus routes over the Williamsburg Bridge which could include one from the Bedford Avenue stop to Bleecker Street 6 train stop, a second from the Grand Street L stop to the Bleecker Street 6 and a third from the Grand Street station to Manhattan's 14th Street.

MTA Executive Director Ronnie Hakim earlier defended the decision to use the diesel buses at an April board meeting where she said that new electric buses have to be tested for several years before they can make a broader investment in a larger fleet because New York City streets are so rough on buses.

The MTA plans to shut down the Canarsie Tunnel — the tunnel connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn along the L train line under the East River — for 15 months in order to repair damage done to the tunnel from flooding during Hurricane Sandy.