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Cape Cod Transit Authority trying to achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2030

The regional transit authority is looking at best practices for where, how many, and what kind of chargers to install.
Courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.
The regional transit authority is looking at best practices for where, how many, and what kind of chargers to install.

Local transportation officials are launching a new study to find out how Cape Cod can welcome the electric vehicle industry.

The Cape Regional Transit Authority plans to issue a request for proposals in the coming weeks. The study is expected to look at how to best install public charging stations across the region.

Authority Administrator Tom Cahir said the study will also help transition the Authority's bus fleet, which currently does not have any electric busses.

“We are all excited about where we are going, but we want to tread lightly so that we make sure that the money we invest is done in a way that makes the most sense,” Cahir said.

The Authority hopes to achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2030.

Part of that plan is converting its on-demand transportation fleet, called “SmartDART,” with up to 7 fully electric small busses. But the Authority is waiting for technology to advance before replacing its larger busses. He says that some public bus agencies in Massachusetts have made the switch and have encountered some problems. He wants to undergo a comprehensive study before making a full switch.

Cahir said it’s part of a wider strategy of transitioning the entire Cape to an electric car future.

"You know, we can't keep pushing this down the road, it’s definitely coming. There’s no questions about it," Cahir said about the transition to electric vehicles. "More than half of the greenhouse gasses are attributed to transportation. The vehicles on the Cape, those are the ones that are going to have to be transitioning over to EVs."

The zero carbon goal is part of a ten-year strategic plan, that also looks at potentially building a new operations facility in Barnstable. The Authority used federal coronavirus stimulus money to help fund these studies.

Cahir said the Authority is planning to work alongside public and private agencies on the study to welcome the electric vehicle industry to the region. That includes the Steamship Authority and Cape Air.

And it is planning to coordinate with both Cape Cod technical high schools and Cape Cod Community College about creating a school-to-job pipeline for the electric vehicle industry.

Sam Houghton has been with the station since the summer of 2017. Before that, he worked at the Falmouth Enterprise, where he covered local politics.