Santa Monica City Hall (Daniel Archuleta

Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city’s expenditures appearing on upcoming Santa Monica City Council consent agendas. Consent agenda items are routinely passed by the City Council with little or no discussion from elected officials or the public. However, many of the items have been part of public discussion in the past.

City Council will consider purchasing 29 new Big Blue Buses and metering the irrigation systems of four traffic circles on Michigan Avenue in a $19,440,112 consent calendar next Tuesday.

Gillig LLC would get the bulk of that money — $19,420,112 — for providing 30-foot and 25-foot compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) buses.

The purchases are necessary to meet the new services needs proposed to supplement the coverage of the incoming Expo Light Rail, city officials said in a report to council.

Four 30-foot buses would replace four 40-foot buses that have reached the end of their 12-year life cycle. Another 25 aging, 40-foot buses would be replaced by new 40-foot buses.

BBB is down-sizing those four buses because the 40-footers can’t physically make the turns at two locations proposed along new Expo-supporting routes.

“BBB has explored various other options such as rerouting existing vehicles around these challenging turns, but was unable to find a suitable path for the bus,” city officials said. “Based on maneuverability and functionality, staff recommends the purchase of four 30-foot CNG powered Gillig buses for replacement of the four 40-foot buses, with delivery dates as early as December 2015 and through January 2016.”

These buses have about 30 seats and hold about 45 passengers.

Each of the 30-foot buses would cost about $578,000 and the 40-footers will cost about 594,000 apiece.

City Hall has about $10 million for the project coming from a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant. The rest would come from the capital improvement program budget.

“BBB currently operates 86 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) buses purchased between 2002 and 2006 of which 24 buses have reached the end of their useful life per Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidelines,” city officials said. “In addition, 52 New Flyer LNG vehicles will have completed their useful life of 12 years in 2016. FTA guidelines set the useful life of a bus at 12 years of age or 500,000 in miles.”

Traffic circle improvements

Four traffic circles on Michigan Avenue need water meters that were not included in the contractor’s original budget of $357,148. El Camino Construction and Engineering will likely get another $20,000 to cover those costs plus that of a community outreach campaign.

The water meters cost just over $4,000 a piece and the outreach is estimated to cost $3,300.

As was the case with the initial funding of the traffic circles, which occurred back in January, the water meters will be paid for by Community Development Block Grants.

The circles — at 9th, 10th, 12th and Euclid streets — are some of the earliest segments of the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGo), which is a vein of pedestrian-friendly street improvements connecting the east side of the city to the west. It was approved last year.

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