Jacksonville’s city-owned utility and its transportation agency are in talks that could lead to the electrification of the city’s entire bus fleet.
That’s what JTA CEO Nat Ford told members of the North Florida Green Chamber of Commerce Monday afternoon.
“I’ve had meetings with the new CEO of the JEA. That would be a perfect partnership between the two organizations, where they actually help us with the infrastructure of our facilities — the charging stations, things of that nature,” he said. “We, as the JTA, would commit to buying electricity from them over the next 20 to 30 years.”
Two electric buses are already in service in Jacksonville, and JTA plans to replace and expand the Skyway monorail system with electric autonomous vehicles that would travel down to street level and back up on elevated ramps — a project called the Ultimate Urban Circulator, or U2C.
JTA also recently hired a chief sustainability officer, and Ford said the agency is in the process of developing formal emissions reduction goals.
Following the meeting with Ford, the Green Chamber issued a statement recommending that the Jacksonville City Council approve a proposed local option gas tax hike to help fund infrastructure projects.
“JTA’s zero emission vehicles, the Ferry and other important transportation initiatives, like the U2C expansion and future investment in rail and transit-oriented development, are an important way to address current transportation needs while addressing climate action in our region,” the statement reads.
The Green Chamber is a nonprofit organization made up of businesses, agencies and individuals who support sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices. Founding members include the Beaches Energy utility company, the city of Jacksonville’s Environmental Protection Board, the city of Atlantic Beach and the Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute.