The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced that it is proudly sponsoring the AltWheels Alternative Transportation & Energy Festival for the 5th consecutive year. The event, held on Friday and Saturday, September 28th and 29th on City Hall Plaza, celebrates the use of alternative transportation and energy. Massport is a leader in embracing environmental initiatives. It owns and operates several of the nation's first ISO 14001 certified transportation facilities, including Hanscom Field; the Conley Container Terminal; and the Tobin Bridge. It also employs a number of innovative air quality emission reduction programs.
Massport will be recognized for its leadership in creating a greener future. On Friday, Director of External Affairs Thomas J. Butler is scheduled to receive two AltWheels "Green Power" awards on behalf of the Authority: One for Massport's environmental engineering and design certification and one for the Authority being one of the region's top five consumers of compressed natural gas (CNG). In the past 12 months, Massport purchased 376,000 gasoline-equivalent-gallons of CNG to power its fleet of shuttle buses, pool cars, and airport operations vehicles.
At the festival, Massport will exhibit a mix of its alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles including a Logan Airport CNG shuttle bus, a 1998 Solectria sedan, a 2004 CNG Honda Civic, and a 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid. Other information about Massport's sustainability plan, energy, and air quality initiatives will also be on display.
Massport is a pioneer in the practice of environmentally-friendly initiatives. In 2006, Logan Airport's new Terminal A achieved a significant environmental milestone as the world's first airport terminal to win "Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design" (LEED) certification for environmental sustainability, design and construction. The new terminal blends sustainable building methods and technologies, including alternative transportation, storm water treatment, heat island reduction, water efficiency, daylighting for energy efficiency, sustainable material use, and improved indoor air quality.
"Massport is committed to operate all of its facilities in an environmentally sound and responsible manner, and our recognition in this year's festival underscores our strong, environmental stewardship," said Kinton. "We are proud to support the festival again this year and showcase the diversity of our "altwheels" fleet. This is also an opportunity for those attending to learn more about the environmentally-friendly things we do for the general public."
In addition to its fleet of alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles, Massport works to promote alternative ways for passengers to get to Logan Airport. Roughly 30% of passengers get to and from Logan Airport using a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) which includes modes of transportation such as the MBTA's Silver Line which runs on clean diesel fuel and electricity, and diesel-powered Logan Express buses. Logan's passengers are second only to San Francisco's in using HOVs to get to and from the airport. Earlier this week Massport unveiled a new cell phone waiting lot at Logan Airport. This initiative will help reduce pollution on airport roadways and reduce congestion at the curbs.
Earlier this year, Massport announced a first in Massachusetts preferred parking program to customers who drive to Logan Airport in hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles. In addition, the Authority, in conjunction with the City of Boston, announced a plan to promote the use of hybrid taxis at the airport.
Massport's Maritime facility is continually investing in environmentally-friendly equipment for its Conley Container Terminal. Recently, Massport purchased eight new Rubber Tire Gantry (RTG) cranes powered by hybrid engines that run on electricity generated by a low noise/low exhaust diesel that meets EPA/CARB exhaust emission standards.
"For the fifth year in a row, we are thrilled to have Massport sponsor of our Festival," said Alison Sander, principal organizer of the event. "Their efforts are exemplary with testing and operating clean-fuel vehicles in a way that the mainstream public can understand and appreciate. Massport has made a significant contribution to combat the problem of air pollution in and around the airport."
Logan Airport has also served as a testing ground for a number of cutting edge fuel programs and technologies. Starting in 1995, Massport converted its entire fleet of 33 shuttle buses to CNG. Massport uses these buses to transport passengers between Logan's terminals, the MBTA station, and the Logan Water Shuttle Dock. This year, these buses reached their 11 millionth "clean mile." Buses log as many as 4,400 miles each per month and consume roughly 30,000 gasoline equivalent gallons of CNG fuel which is based on the equivalent energy produced when burned. Recently each bus had its engine rebuilt. Logan is also home to the region's largest CNG filling station. Currently Massport's operates close to 100 vehicles in their Logan-based fleet on clean fuels which include CNG and electricity. Massport has worked closely with environmental agencies and airport tenants to encourage airport companies to convert their Logan fleets to alternative fuels. Massport provides and incentive by offering a 50% discount on the ground access fee required of hotel shuttles, taxis, limos, etc. who do business at Logan Airport.
As part of its environmental management policy, Massport purchases - on an as needed basis - new CNG or CNG Hybrid powered vehicles to replace conventional fuel vehicles (buses, pick-up trucks, cars, and vans). Massport also has plans to relocate its existing CNG filling station to a new site for a 50% larger facility. The new station will feature a third compressor and extra dispensers to increase both the number of vehicles that can be handled at any one time, and the speed with which they can be fueled. It will also house additional above ground storage capacity.
The festival at City Hall Plaza will feature a series of outdoor workshops, exhibits and special activities for adults and children interested in walking, biking, using mass transit and the future of the passenger car and commercial vehicles. New this year is the Energy Freedom Trail which consists of 30 educational and activity booths that provide ideas and resources to help identify what each individual can do to create a more sustainable world. For more information about festival details please visit www.altwheels.org.