Pace celebrates completion of
Compressed Natural Gas garage

Pace first transit agency in Chicagoland to operate CNG-powered buses


Pace Suburban Bus, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), and local and state officials gathered on July 25 to celebrate the completion of an all-new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus garage at Pace's South Division in Markham. Pace Board Chairman Richard Kwasneski, State Representative Al Riley, RTA Board Chairman Kirk Dillard, Pace Board Member and Phoenix Mayor Terry Wells, Pace Board Member Terrance Carr, and Pace Executive Director T.J. Ross joined Richton Park Mayor Richard Reinbold, Country Club Hills Mayor James Ford, Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward, Local 1028 ATU President Marlon Graves; Pace and RTA staff, and other Pace stakeholders to commemorate the new facility and buses. This property is now fully equipped to fuel, maintain and service CNG buses.

"We consider ourselves innovators in the industry. There are 63 public transit agencies in Illinois and we are one of three to operate CNG fleets," said Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski. "Lower fuel and maintenance costs will allow Pace to save and reinvest the taxpayers' money into service across the region. Lower emissions mean better air quality for the communities we serve. We are really proud of this move and will explore this option at our other facilities across the region."

"I've been involved in transportation a long time, even before I came to the legislature. I was a transportation planner back in the day," offered Al Riley, Illinois' 38th District Representative. "It is so great that Pace is here to employ a lot of local people and help spur economic development in our region. They are really walking the walk with these buses and this facility shows that they are good stewards of our environment."

The updates to the garage, which include the CNG station, additional generators, a total remodeling of the front office, driver's area and mezzanine in the maintenance area, a new hot water heating system throughout the entire building, and an upgraded ventilation system cost approximately $12 million and was funded using Pace's Bond Program. The new South CNG bus fleet is made up of 91 buses which cost $479,454.00 each and were funded by the RTA with state dollars from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The cost difference of a forty-foot CNG bus to a forty-foot diesel bus is $52,275.82. This cost difference is expected to be recouped through fuel cost savings. Those savings are projected to reach $1.486 million in 2018, with annual savings varying based on diesel fuel costs.

"Pace is great at innovating. Imagine what they could do if they had proper capital funding," said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard. "The RTA will continue work with Pace and the other transit agencies in advocating for sustainable capital funding, so we can bring more projects like this that benefit riders throughout our region."

"Today is a celebration of a $61-million-dollar investment in Pace's South Suburban service area," commented Pace Board Member and Phoenix Mayor Terry Wells. "In addition to the approximately 300 employees here in Markham and in South Holland, this project created approximately 200 direct and indirect jobs. Reliable public transportation helps revitalize business districts, allows employers to tap into larger workforces, builds economic revenues and increases property values."

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