Fairbanks Borough Assembly to vote on natural gas powered transit

January 24, 2019. The transit system of the future in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, will be run on compressed natural gas (CNG), if the assembly approves the idea today.

   Administrators at the borough want to build a CNG distribution system as part of a new transit garage, which is in the design phase, and begin phasing in buses that run on natural gas starting next year.

   It would be the first large-scale compressed natural gas distribution system for vehicles to be constructed in Fairbanks, and it would serve as an anchor customer for the borough-owned Interior Gas Utility, said Glenn Miller, transportation director at the borough.

   “This assembly is really setting the direction for the next several decades,” Miller said. “There aren’t any large fleets in Fairbanks that are fueled with compressed natural gas. We would be the first.”

   Mayor Bryce Ward is sponsor of a resolution calling on the borough to switch public transit vehicles to compressed natural gas.

   Diesel- and gasoline-operated vehicles at the end of their lives would be replaced over 10-15 years with vehicles that run on CNG, Miller said. The conversion is expected to cost more up front but save money over the lives of the vehicles.