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SEN. BOXER CALLS FOR $9 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RESEARCH ON MTA'S ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY TRANSIT BUS

 LOS ANGELES, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, visiting Northrop Corp. in El Segundo today, called for Congress to provide $9 million in continued research funding for the MTA's Advanced Technology Transit Bus project, a program she said is "a prime example of defense conversion in progress; a model project that can help our aerospace industry diversify by developing a new and promising technology."
 Under contract to the MTA, Northrop and a group of subcontractors are designing a lightweight, low-emissions, low-floor transit bus -- the ATTB -- that will incorporate state-of-the-art aerospace technologies and materials. Phase One of the project was financed by a $4 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and $798,000 in Proposition C matching funds from the MTA.
 "The ATTB project is a major opportunity for the traditional defense and aerospace companies in Southern California to develop leading-edge technology in the emerging surface transportation industry," said MTA Chief Executive Officer Franklin E. White. "The ATTB has excellent potential for creating new jobs here."
 Phase Two of the ATTB program, a year-long design validation project, is scheduled to begin in October at a total cost of $10.8 million. Phase Three, estimated to cost $14.4 million, calls for the manufacture and testing of six prototype ATTB buses and is to begin in 1995.
 At its June 23 meeting, the MTA board voted to submit a grant application to the Department of Defense-led Technology Reinvestment Project seeking defense technology conversion funding for Phase Two. The MTA, along with Northrop's ATTB Team, also has been seeking continued funding from the FTA. Boxer has been a key supporter in Congress for continuing funding for the program.
 "The interest in the ATTB goes far beyond the MTA and Los Angeles," said White. "The technology will be developed here, and we expect it to be built here, and it has great potential for export to mass transit agencies worldwide."
 A number of cities, including New York, Chicago, Houston and Detroit, have joined the MTA in developing the ATTB. Prior to beginning the project, ATTB Team engineers visited these cities to discuss their transit bus needs. MTA engineers, mechanics and bus operators continue to work closely with the team to share practical experiences.
 In designing the new bus, the Northrop ATTB Team is re-engineering every facet of a project that has hardly changed in 30 years or more. Structural members made of high-tech materials, space-age electronic systems, hybrid engines that run on low-emissions alternative fuels, low floors to eliminate hazards for disabled passengers and speed loading, graffiti- and vandal-resistant surfaces -- these and other advances will be incorporated into the ATTB.
 MTA engineers expect the ATTB to become the new standard transit bus for the 21st century. Plans are to encourage U.S. manufacturers to adopt the ATTB and to build versions of it for both the domestic and international markets. Currently, U.S. production of transit buses is about 3,000 to 4,000 annually.
 The MTA is a national leader in research, development and testing of alternative-fuel buses. The agency currently is conducting demonstration projects using a variety of low-emissions fuels.
 -0- 7/7/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Heard or Jim Smart of MTA News Bureau, 213-972-4400/


CO: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ST: California IN: SU:

LM-MF -- LA024 -- 9174 07/07/93 16:02 EDT
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Date:Jul 7, 1993
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