In its Tuesday night session, the Alexandria City Council took another step forward in making the Eco-City initiative a reality. Docket item #23 on the agenda was whether to use federal stimulus grant money to procure five low-emission diesel trolleys for the King Street Trolley service, or four hybrid trolleys, the hybrids being more expensive.
Although the diesel trolleys would have much lower hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions than three of the five existing trolleys, the hybrids would be even better. Going up and down King Street, the hybrids would operate largely in electric mode, producing an estimated 70% less emissions than the diesels.
The Environmental Policy Commission sent City Council a letter urging procurement of hybrid trolleys, pointing out the benefits of reduced fuel usage, dramatically lower emissions–of both NAAQS and greenhouse gases–as well as the public relations benefits. King Street is Alexandria’s primary tourist area, and at the rapid pace of innovation in automotive technology, diesel trolleys would look out of date compared to hybrids within a very short time. Indeed, with either hybrids or diesels, the trolleys are expected to be delivered in July of 2011.
This is admittedly a small step. Nevertheless, it would have been easy for council to buy the cheaper diesel trolleys instead of the significantly ‘greener’ hybrids. They did the right thing.