MTA Director Nominated for White House Award

This article was originally posted on - read the full article

Genesee County's Mass Transportation Authority General Manager/CEO has been nominated for a White House award.

Ed Benning has been nominated for this year's White House Transportation Champions of Change Award in the category of "Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation," according to a news release from the MTA.

Benning said being nominated for the award is a great honor.

"It's an honor just to be nominated," Benning said. "It's not necessarily just about me. I have the opportunity daily to work with a great team. They're so focused on really making this a great community and we're doing everything we can to make sure that people have a great transportation system. It's really kind of special being nominated and it's an honor to think that people recognize what we're doing in this kind of way."

The White House Champions of Change Program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the nation who are leading projects and initiatives that move their communities forward, according to the release. The innovators are chosen for demonstrating leadership and developing strategies, and also for pioneering mobility management, developing safety programs for communities for minority, older adults, limited English proficiency or other at-risk communities and strategizing to limit greenhouse-gas emissions and facilitating change that positively impacts sustainability.

Benning said the MTA has been the leading effort at the local, state, and federal levels on the emerging need for non-emergency medical transportation. The Your Ride Plus program is done in conjunction with Your Ride and providing service with the new PACE program.

"That's one program where we're providing non-emergency medical transportation and that program will scale up to 225 seniors that are being transported daily just to go to that program," Benning said. "In the community we are partnering with the hospitals, like the Valley Area Agency on Aging. We are providing transportation for the most frail seniors to go to medical appointments.

"What's happening around the country is that people are just having a difficult time figuring out how to do this. We are, what I think, in the midst of one of the greatest growths in medical-related transportation needs that we've never had anything of this magnitude. Under the Affordable Health Care Act, there are thousands of people that now will be able to go to medical appointments and they need transportation. We're stepping up to that and doing those services. We'll even be doing much more of that as we move along."

The number of vehicles used in the Your Ride Plus program will be increased, Benning said, because the need is so strong.

Benning has also worked to develop the strongest, most diverse alternative fuel program in the Midwest, according to the release. His innovation of "theme buses" has also been noted nationally. He came up with a Pink Bus to recognize the growing number of people affected by cancer, as well as a theme bus to honor veterans.

More recently, Benning established Rides to Groceries to help those in the community have access to food after a number of grocery stores closed in the Flint area. Benning said with this initiative, the MTA plans to go a step further and begin picking people up from their homes if they can't make it to bus stops.

"It's important to us to provide these special services that are now emerging in our community," Benning said.

The innovators chosen will attend an invitational event at the White House on Oct. 13. Benning said he will find out in late September if he will be making the trip.

MTA Unveils Next Generation of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

(Flint, MI –August 10, 2015) The Mass Transportation Authority unveiled some of its new next generation of alternative fuel vehicles today/on August 10. The organization continues to add these environmentally friendly vehicles to the fleet with the addition of compressed natural gas (CNG) commuter coaches, propane mini-buses, propane powered service trucks and a new 8th generation hydrogen fuel cell bus made entirely in America. All of these vehicles will be on the road within the next few weeks and will tremendously improve efforts to become a 100% alternative fueled fleet.

“The Mass Transportation Authority is excited to be able to introduce these additional alternative fuel vehicles,” Ed Benning, General Manager/CEO stated. “These environmentally responsible alternative fuel vehicles will allow the organization to move closer to a 100% alternative fuel platform. The all-American built 8th generation hydrogen fuel cell bus was a result of a consortium between El Dorado National, Ballard Fuel Cell and BAE Systems. The bus, which is built on a stainless steel body with a total weight of approximately 34,000 pounds, will allow the Mass Transportation Authority to gain further experience on the use of hydrogen technology,” Benning said. “This is about the future and what role hydrogen will play in our community today and looking forward. The addition of these new vehicles into the fleet will provide for a green operating environment, less dependency on diesel fuels, and more stability in the days ahead. We have a long way to go and by introducing these vehicles, it moves us a step closer to the next phase in our effort to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel. Today the MTA still operates a large amount of diesel-powered vehicles that must be replaced; some of those vehicles are over 30 years in age.”

In preparation of the of the new compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles the MTA is in the process of building a new CNG bus storage facility (which will house up to 20 CNG commuter coaches). In addition, the organization is preparing for the construction of a new Davison Service Center that will serve as a hub for Otisville, Richfield Township, and Davison to provide better storage of the new alternative fuel vehicles that are currently being purchased.

“The Mass Transportation Authority continues to invest in the future and these new upgrades put us in a position to prepare for that future and the public transportation needs in our community today and tomorrow.”

Pictured L to R: Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Compressed Natural Gas, Propane Bluebird, Propane van and Propane service truck

New, Fuel-Efficient Buses to be Dedicated

TheRide and Allison Transmission will be holding a public event for the dedication of new buses featuring both a new design and a new technology that offers improved fuel efficiency. TheRide is the first transit agency in the world to incorporate Allison’s new xFE transmission, which has demonstrated fuel economy improvements of up to seven percent in customer fleet testing. Its implementation marks an important step in TheRide’s continued sustainability efforts, and the new bus design will visually reflect the many improvements that are being implemented as part of TheRide’s Five-Year Transit Improvement Program. Allison Transmission has been creating world-class transmissions for more than 100 years, and will also be celebrating this important milestone during the event.

TheRide's Main Office
2700 S. Industrial Hwy.
Ann Arbor, MI

Friday, July 31, 2015
9:30 a.m.

This event is scheduled to be held outside, but will move indoors in the event of inclement weather. Light refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP by calling Deb Freer at (734) 794-1881 or visiting and clicking ‘RSVP Now.’

MTA to Celebrate Unveiling

The Mass Transportation Authority cordially invites you to attend the unveiling of a new Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle and our first Compressed Natural Gas vehicles on Monday, August 10, 2015 at 10 a.m. at the Grand Blanc Alternative Fuel Center, 5051 S. Dort Highway, Flint, Michigan.

To RSVP call Pat Welch at 810-767-6950, ext 8126 by August 5, 2015.

Subscribe to Front page feed