MTU unveils electric buses as officials highlight bipartisan infrastructure law

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — La Crosse is leading the state in green transportation, as the MTU became the first municipal system in Wisconsin to put an electric bus on the road.

The first group of passengers to get on board the bright green buses Wednesday included Gov. Tony Evers, Mayor Mitch Reynolds and EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“It was the first ride with guests, so everything went well,” said MTU director Adam Lorentz. “You can ask them, it was quiet; there was no smells of fuel or emissions.”

Public officials, including U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, spoke a press conference afterwards to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“If we do this well — and I’m confident that we can — this can be a model for change throughout the entire country,” Kind said.

The MTU’s two new electric buses will officially hit the streets next month. They will operate in the rotation just like any other bus.

“These are generational investments,” Evers said. “I know we’re going to be able to deliver on our promise to leave our kids with a better life and a better world than one that we inherited.”

La Crosse is the first city in Wisconsin to invest in electric buses, and looks to be the first to have them hit the road.

“It’s really exciting just for a city the size of La Crosse to be able to do this and kind of spearhead it,” Lorentz said. “It’s really hopefully is going to set the tone for a lot of the communities throughout the area.”

EPA Administrator Regan said, “This is the first electric transit bus I have ridden on — I believe for the governor and the congressman as well.”

Though this is one of Wisconsin’s first, Regan is confident other communities will get on board.

“It’s great to see what’s happening in La Crosse,” he said. “These are the types of investments we are hoping to see all across the country.”

La Crosse has already made plans to expand its electric fleet.

“To do it about every two years is our goal, but we’re not going to jump ahead until we make sure our first two buses are correct,” Lorentz said.

In response to the La Crosse stop, the Republican National Committee released a statement condemning the EPA’s visit saying, “Michael Regan’s stop in La Crosse is a slap in the face to Wisconsinites who are stuck paying for higher gas and electricity prices due to their unreasonable energy policies. Under the Biden administration, the EPA has made no effort to lower energy costs despite the economic hardship Wisconsin families face.”

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