SEAL BEACH, CA - Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has awarded Clean Energy Fuels Corp. a $40-million contract to design and build four new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations. The stations will support the transition of DART’s fixed route and paratransit bus fleet to 100-percent CNG power.

The project will also will include two building modifications for maintenance facilities.

Over the next three years, DART plans to deploy 452 new CNG buses and 200 CNG paratransit vehicles as replacements for its current fleet of liquefied natural gas and diesel-powered models that began service in 1998.

The new CNG fueling stations will be located at DART’s bus and paratransit maintenance facilities. The station development project is set to start this month, and Clean Energy expects to complete DART’s first new CNG fueling facility by April of next year.

“With the transition of its bus fleet to CNG power, DART joins the ranks of clear leaders among U.S. transit operators anxious to secure the environmental and economic benefits of CNG for their communities,” said James Harger, Clean Energy’s chief marketing officer. “Across the nation, Clean Energy is partnering with many transit agencies to reliably fuel over 5,500 buses daily.”

Based in Dallas, DART deploys buses on 135 fixed and express routes, serving the communities of Addison, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Dallas, Farmers Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Highland Park, Irving, Richardson, Rowlett, Plano and University Park, Texas. In fiscal year 2010, passenger boardings of DART buses totaled more than 38 million.

With a cost less than diesel, natural gas fuel produces up to 23 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions in medium- to heavy-duty vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 98 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is sourced in the U.S. and Canada. Using natural gas fuel can prevent tons of emissions from entering the atmosphere throughout the operating life of a typical bus fleet, while also lowering a transit agency’s operating costs significantly.

Clean Energy is a leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America and a global leader in the expanding natural gas vehicle market.