CapMetro’s push for sustainability as it rapidly expands

AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may have noticed a few new green things on city roads lately. The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, CapMetro, is in the middle of some rapid growth, including the early stages of Project Connect. As part of that growth, it’s keeping sustainability in mind.

Meteorologist Kristen Currie spoke with CapMetro Sustainability Officer Rob Borowski about how they’re planning for the planet as they plan for new subway lines in Austin. They also spoke about some of the greener options on our streets right now.

You can watch the interview above or read the transcript below to learn more.

KRISTEN CURRIE, KXAN NEWS: Joining me now is Rob Borowski, the sustainability officer for CapMetro. Rob, I understand there’s some new and exciting things going on in CapMetro, but also a continuation of things you guys are already doing when it comes to being more sustainable. So talk me through that.

ROB BOROWSKI, CAPMETRO: We’ve always been in sustainability and always had a pretty strong program. But with recent changes with Project Connect and our partnership with Austin Transit Partnership, we decided we’re going to kind of formalize a new vision plan, the sustainability vision plan.

What might Project Connect’s subway stations look like?

That’s what was passed by the board in March. It was actually the policy around that vision plan that was passed. The goals are to kind of support other regional goals like the city’s climate Equity Plan, which is setting a major goal for us to reduce our carbon emissions to net zero by 2040.

CURRIE: Is there anything that a passenger would notice? I mean, I don’t, you know, between an electric bus and a gas bus or a diesel bus?

BOROWSKI: You know, I love electric buses. These electric buses are really phenomenal. That technology is very good. It’s simple, the performance is better. But I think some of the things that excite me most about those electric buses is what the passenger sees.

That is the reduction of noise on the bus. I mean, as in our customers, some of the biggest complaints are those buses are very hot. There’s a lot of emissions coming from it. They smell, and they’re noisy. Electric buses — all of that kind of goes away. The buses are silent.

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There’s no emission, so you don’t smell the diesel exhaust, and there’s no heat when your weight coming off that bus when you’re waiting for it. In addition, it’s a lot. I think it’s a lot safer for the customer, the rider and the bus driver, because you can hear everything that’s going on inside the bus.

So there’s a lot of things outside those just environmental issues that those, you know, the benefits of the environment and the greenhouse gas reductions. There’s a lot of other customer benefits that I’m really excited about.

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