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Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus Using Stimulus Cash to Buy Hybrids

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Photo by LA Wad via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Federal stimulus funds are bound for Santa Monica, where their Big Blue Bus has plans for the $12.8 million, according to Yahoo!Business. The funds come with the stipulation they be "used for capital expenditures and not for operating costs or service enhancements."

Stephanie Negriff, director of transit services for the Big Blue Bus points out that the money will help support businesses whose products are needed by the transit agencies nationwide who are receiving such stimulus packages. “It’s very rewarding to be a catalyst for getting dollars circulating back into both the local and national economy, and to be able to develop the infrastructure for better community service all at the same time,” says Negriff. Although jobs will not be produced locally, Big Blue Bus plans to put as much of the funds as possible into use by dealing with companies in Southern California. Here's how they are planning to allocate the funds:

* 10 new 30-foot gasoline-electric hybrid buses for use on neighborhood Mini Blue lines.
* Three 60-foot flexible articulated buses that will be added to the busy Rapid 3 and Rapid 7 lines.
* Up to three 40-foot alternative fueled buses that will replace several of the agency’s older diesel models.

The new buses will give local riders more transit options, and allow for more "people who live and work in Santa Monica to be car-free." Further benefits include the fact that these purchases "will allow the agency to build the infrastructure necessary to connect the network of feeder lines to the Expo light rail line when it opens."