Fort Smith Board of Directors approve CNG fueling station

December 5, 2018. The Arkansas’s Fort Smith Board of Directors approved at its Tuesday meeting the construction bid by Steve Beam Construction, Inc. for a fast-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station to be housed at the Transit Department’s facility.

   Transit Director Ken Savage told the board at the 2019 budget hearing last week the station was part of the department’s capital requests. It will cost approximately $1.5 million, but the Federal Transportation Administration should reimburse the city for approximately 90 percent of the project’s cost.

   Savage said the administration wants cities to invest more heavily into alternative fueling methods.

   All of the fleet’s on-route buses are CNG equipped, Savage said. Back-up buses and the trolley are not yet enabled for the alternative fueling method. He hopes the backups can be upgraded and run on CNG as well.

   Part of the project includes the fueling station and ventilation upgrades to the maintenance facility. ″It will permit staff to safely repair CNG buses inside the facility,” Savage wrote in a memo to City Administrator Carl Geffken. “The renovations and additions will enhance safety and improve operating efficiencies allowing staff to fuel vehicles on site.”

   All city departments with CNG-outfitted vehicles will be able to use the station, Savage said, which is scheduled to be complete by next October.