September 19, 2021
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Rekor Systems Announces Selection of Waycare Technologies by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for Pilot Program to Reduce State Traffic Congestion and Crashes
California homeless camp fire damages 2 bridges, disrupts public transportation
Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025
The Top 10 Automotive Concepts that automotive enthusiasts will be itching to see on the road!
Oregon Transportation Commission, wary of I-5 Rose Quarter project’s growing price tag, grants conditional approval
Woman dies after being hit by car in North Windham Friday night
Silk-FAW Continues To Poach Italy’s Automotive Talent, As Lamborghini’s Katia Bassi Joins As Managing Director
Transportation Department cracks down on airlines withholding refunds for canceled flights
Bear gets trapped in car, destroys interior
Cycling apparel company adding full-service bike repair to visitor center
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Rekor Systems Announces Selection of Waycare Technologies by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for Pilot Program to Reduce State Traffic Congestion and Crashes California homeless camp fire damages 2 bridges, disrupts public transportation Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025 The Top 10 Automotive Concepts that automotive enthusiasts will be itching to see on the road! Oregon Transportation Commission, wary of I-5 Rose Quarter project’s growing price tag, grants conditional approval Woman dies after being hit by car in North Windham Friday night Silk-FAW Continues To Poach Italy’s Automotive Talent, As Lamborghini’s Katia Bassi Joins As Managing Director Transportation Department cracks down on airlines withholding refunds for canceled flights Bear gets trapped in car, destroys interior Cycling apparel company adding full-service bike repair to visitor center
Aug
2021
19

Senate passes $1 trillion infrastructure package with auto safety, EV provisions

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association that represents most major automakers in the U.S. as well as some suppliers and tech firms, applauded the bipartisan effort Tuesday, pointing to the $7.5 billion included for EV charging that can “certainly help jumpstart” public investment in a nationwide charging network.

“While today’s action represents a strong first step, collaboration on a comprehensive strategy will be key moving forward,” John Bozzella, CEO of alliance, said in a statement Tuesday.

Industry investments

Many of the group’s members are working to meet a voluntary goal outlined by the White House for zero-emission vehicles to make up half of all new passenger vehicles sold in 2030. By 2025, the auto industry will have invested $330 billion in EVs, including plug-in hybrids, battery-electrics and fuel cells, according to the alliance.

“We are working with Congress to craft the additional complementary policies necessary to further boost investment in the domestic EV supply chain and incentives that encourage consumer adoption of EVs,” Bozzella said. “Realizing these necessary conditions for a successful EV market will be critical to boosting EV sales from just over 2 percent of vehicle sales now to achieve a goal of 40 to 50 percent EV penetration by the end of the decade.”  

Safety advocates argue many of the bill’s vehicle safety provisions cater to industry demands by not setting enough compliance deadlines or mandating regulatory action by NHTSA.

The legislation sets deadlines for the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue rules on automatic shutoff for keyless ignition systems, updated headlamp standards and a requirement for new vehicles to be equipped with drunken and impaired driving prevention technology.

The bill also calls for a rule that sets minimum performance standards for crash-avoidance technology and requires all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be equipped with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems as well as lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist systems, though it does not specify a rule deadline or compliance date.

“Firm deadlines for agency actions have been detoured with needless studies, insufficient requirements or not included at all,” Advocates President Cathy Chase said in a statement.

The Center for Auto Safety said the bill is “flashy, took a lot of effort to build and includes some new praiseworthy features, but it remains an unfinished product in terms of making an immediate impact on the 40,000 annual crash deaths in our country.”

The center said it looks forward to seeing a combined version of the Senate legislation and the House’s Invest in America Act sent to the president that includes “the best consumer protection provisions” from both.

Back to the House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under pressure from progressives who want their priorities addressed, has said she will not allow a vote on the bipartisan package until the Senate has passed the broader economic plan. Moderates, meanwhile, are clamoring for the House to take up the bill sooner than that. The House may also seek changes to the infrastructure bill.

Still, the

Aug
2021
10

How the infrastructure deal aims to bolster our aging transportation network

Tom Smith:

Well, I think this is absolutely a critical investment.

And, as you just heard, these are investments that we need in this country, whether it’s rail or transit or even the ferry service. This is a well-thought-out bill, as I have gone through it. Obviously, it’s not perfect. It’s — but it’s a bipartisan effort. It’s been really well-thought-out.

When you look at the ferry service that was referenced there, I know there was at least a billion dollars was referenced for ferry service in rural communities. And while we talk about the cost of investing in our infrastructure, I think one of the things we will have to also consider is, what is the cost when we fail to invest, that time that we spend sitting in traffic, the inefficiencies in our system, repairing your car when you hit a pothole, added costs for goods and services, because we have failed to invest in our infrastructure?

This all costs us money. And we did an economic study showing that we found it was $3, 300 per year per family. That’s the hidden tax that we’re paying today. So while we talk about, what does it cost to invest in our infrastructure and to modernize and maintain it, we have to ask ourselves, what’s the cost if we fail to do that? It’s far greater.

Aug
2021
1

N.Y.’s Transit System Could Receive $10 Billion in Infrastructure Deal

“This bill includes the largest-ever federal investment in public transit and the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago,” said John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union. “Critical funding from this bill will be used to repair, maintain and expand these vital modes of transportation, creating thousands of new union jobs in the transportation industry.”

Mr. Schumer said that $20 billion of the transit funds in the bill would be a new allocation, at least $1.3 billion of which would go to the M.T.A. Of the remaining total of about $70 billion in transit funding, the M.T.A. would get more than $9 billion, he said.

“The agreement reached by the White House and members of the U.S. Senate on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is the critical next step toward securing unprecedented and long-needed levels of federal investment in public transportation,’’ Ken Lovett, a spokesman for the M.T.A., said in a statement. “The Senate legislation includes funding for essential state of good repair needs and capital investment programs that will help the M.T.A. fund its historic 2020-24 capital plan.’’

That money would be on top of the $14.5 billion in federal pandemic relief the M.T.A. is receiving. After getting $8 billion in federal aid last year and an additional $6.5 billion this year, the M.T.A. postponed a fare increase that was scheduled for 2021 and resumed its capital-spending plan.

The New Jersey governor, Philip D. Murphy, also hailed the bill, which he said in a statement included “unprecedented investments in mass transit, roads, bridges, clean energy, and broadband, while creating thousands of good-paying jobs.”

New Jersey Transit, which operates a statewide network of buses and trains, received $1.4 billion in federal aid through the CARES Act last year. The agency has used that money to offset the steep decline in revenue caused by the drop in ridership since the pandemic began early last year. A spokeswoman for NJTransit said the agency was still awaiting official notice of what it might receive from the infrastructure bill.

Officials from New York and New Jersey have been sparring over how to share the emergency funds the federal government allocated to their transit agencies. New Jersey officials have argued for using a traditional breakdown, but the New York side has argued that the M.T.A. should get a bigger-than-usual share because it has suffered more.

“New York’s view of its own troubles is outrageous and shows a lack of awareness of the significant hardship experienced by neighboring states,” 12 members of Congress from New Jersey wrote in a July 22 letter to Nuria Fernandez, the administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

Jul
2021
13

Study provides insights into achieving equitable bicycling infrastructure

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — A study measuring how well bicycling infrastructure advanced transportation alternatives across socioeconomic and demographic groups will help guide cities building equitable infrastructure, according to the Better Bike Share Partnership.

“The study will provide a different narrative for understanding the potential impacts of these investments,” said Kiran Herbert, Better Bike Share Partnership local programs writer and content manager.

Entities that make up the Better Bike Share Partnership — a collaboration funded by The JPB Foundation to build equitable bike share systems — are the city of Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, and the PeopleForBikes Foundation.

“That doesn’t let cities off the hook for doing good community engagement — in fact, it elevates the importance of working in partnership with community members to address their needs and involve them in the planning process,” Herbert said. “This study to me says, ‘Yes, build those bike lanes — but do so in a way that engages the community from the start and accounts for specific needs throughout.'”

Long term, Herbert suggested, the study provides another model for measuring the impacts of implementing infrastructure.

“So cities must acknowledge and account for that,” Herbert said. “I think it also offers a lot of food for thought when it comes to thinking about mobility justice and what encompasses gentrification. Sure, we might not be displacing folks with bike lanes, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing a great job of listening to them and accounting for the needs of a wide subset of people.”

The study by Nicholas N. Ferenchak of the University of New Mexico and Wesley E. Marshall of the University of Colorado looked at 11,010 bike facility miles over 10 years (2010-2019) in 29 cities and suggests inequalities in bike infrastructure outside downtown areas.

The cities studied were Chicago; Houston; Philadelphia; Dallas; Austin, Texas; Seattle; San Francisco; Seattle; Denver; Washington; Memphis, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; Oklahoma City; Baltimore; Kansas City; Minneapolis; Alexandria, Virginia; Pasadena, California; Fullerton, California; Columbia, South Carolina; New Haven, Connecticut; Norman, Oklahoma; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Iowa City, Iowa; Passaic, New Jersey; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine; Youngstown, Ohio; and East Orange, New Jersey.

“While lower-income white neighborhoods — where we might expect lower vehicle ownership and higher want or need of access to safe and comfortable active transportation facilities — had high levels of bike facilities installed, (people of color) areas had the lowest rates of overall installation,” the study’s authors wrote. “Lower-income white block groups had 45.9% more bike facilities installed than lower-income POC block groups and 46.2% more facilities installed than higher-income POC block groups.”

According to the study, the causality relationships between bike facilities and socioeconomic and demographic changes were “largely non-significant.” And for advocates concerned about new bike lanes resulting in forcing out historically marginalized groups, the study suggests otherwise.

“Bike lanes have been described as ‘a tell-tale sign of gentrification,’ and it is not uncommon to see popular press articles such as ‘Why are bike lanes such heated

Jul
2021
12

California Invests $1.18 Billion in Infrastructure

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The California Transportation Commission has allocated $1.18 billion for infrastructure projects throughout the state.

The commission, which is made up of 13 members, is responsible for programming and directing transportation funds for highway, rail, transit and active transportation purposes.

More than half of the investment, some $630 million, came from Senate Bill 1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This legislation, which involved a hike to fuel tax rates, is intended to direct $54 billion over a decade to fixing roads, highways and bridges, as well as supporting transit and safety.

According to the commission, SB 1 annually provides $5 billion in transportation funding, which is split between state and local agencies.

“California has the most heavily traveled transportation system in the country,” said California Department of Transportation Director Toks Omishakin. “[This] investment will allow Caltrans to make critical repairs and upgrades to our state’s roads and bridges, increase options for transit, rail, walking and biking, and support thousands of jobs.”

Some $7.8 million was approved for the Imperial County Transportation Commission in support of truck crossing improvements at the Calexico East Port of Entry. Imperial County comprises the eastern half of California’s border with Mexico.

The Calexico East Port of Entry, which links Imperial County to Mexicali, is a bustling crossing point for commercial trucks. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, this port of entry has processed 107,929 trucks so far in 2021.

About $200 million was set aside for constructing a truck climbing lane along Interstate 10, which stretches across the southern U.S. from Santa Monica, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., and serves as an important conduit for freight.

In Stockton, $20 million will support a project located at a freight rail corridor that links the Port of Stockton to markets throughout California. An inland port located on the San Joaquin River, the Port of Stockton has handling facilities for dry and liquid bulk materials as well as containerized cargo.

Specifically, crews will build a flyover spanning the Stockton Diamond, an at-grade crossing point for Union Pacific Corp. and BNSF Railway tracks. According to the commission, the project will provide vertical clearance, eliminating interference between the freight railroads at this intersection.

A few of the projects focus on incorporating alternative fuels into the transportation sector. Some $5 million was issued for the procurement of 20 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses and related infrastructure to improve service frequency in Los Angeles County.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System was issued $13.3 million to purchase 11 battery-electric buses. Specifically, these buses will be used on the Iris Rapid route, which will link passengers from Otay Mesa to the Iris Avenue station east of Imperial Beach when it is completed.

Along I-10, some $1.3 million was approved for the installation of electric charging stations for zero-emission vehicles near Banning and Blythe. Banning is 30 mile east of San Bernardino. Blythe is located directly across

Jun
2021
23

Sanders says no to gas taxes, electric vehicle fees to fund infrastructure deal

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., drew his red lines on how to pay for a potential infrastructure compromise bill Sunday, as Democratic progressives continue to hesitate over joining the bipartisan deal on one of President Joe Biden’s biggest legislative priorities.

Twenty-one senators, including 11 Republicans, have coalesced around a broad framework that invests in hard infrastructure spending — roads, bridges and other projects — but not in the broader proposals that Democrats are seeking in their own proposals, such as climate change mitigation and new investments in areas like child care.

In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Sanders wouldn’t commit to supporting or opposing the plan, largely because the final details still need to be negotiated. But he made it clear there are some red lines he won’t cross to support it.

“What is in the bipartisan bill in terms of spending is, from what I can see, mostly good. It is roads and bridges, and we need to do that. That is what we are proposing in our legislation, but in much greater numbers,” he said.

“One of the concerns that I do have about the bipartisan bill is how they are going to pay for their proposals, and they’re not clear yet. I don’t know that they even know yet, but some of the speculation is raising a gas tax, which I don’t support, a fee on electric vehicles, privatization of infrastructure. Those are proposals that I would not support.”

Congress has gone back and forth on infrastructure negotiations for months — Biden has called for a $4 trillion plan, while Republicans have been pitching their own proposals at less than a quarter of the cost. While the bipartisan group continues to iron out legislation, Democrats are readying an attempt to pass their own plan without any Republican votes in case negotiations fail.

Some progressives have balked at working with Republicans on a bill that doesn’t include priorities like climate change mitigation.

But many Republicans, like Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are similarly wary of legislation they see as too broad.

In an interview on “Meet the Press,” Portman said that while the group of 21 senators, of which he’s a part of, are still on board, and he criticized the Democratic plan as a “$6 trillion grab bag of progressive priorities.” Portman said the bipartisan group is trying to use “creative” solutions to avoid raising taxes and said that if Biden and other Democrats don’t support the group’s plan to index the gas tax to inflation, they should propose other ways to pay for the spending that don’t raise taxes.

“What we don’t want to do is hurt the economy right now, as we are coming out of the pandemic, by raising taxes on working families,” he said.

Portman also threw cold water on a different potential compromise — a proposal by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on voting rights and election security. Portman said he appreciates Manchin’s attempt to find “some middle ground” but

Jun
2021
16

Susan Collins floats unused aid, electric vehicle fees to fund $1.2T infrastructure bill

A bipartisan group of 10 senators wants to use unspent COVID-19 relief money and new fees on electric vehicles as two of the major ways to pay for their eight-year, $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said on Sunday.

The group outlined their plan on Thursday but provided few specifics. It would include $579 billion in new spending but limit it to core infrastructure like roads, bridges and broadband while setting aside social programs and a corporate tax hike favored by President Joe Biden.

It is the latest in a series of attempts to bridge an impasse on the issue between the White House and Republicans. Biden cut off negotiations with Senate Republicans last week, but the new bipartisan group quickly emerged from the sidelines of that deal. A group of 58 House members evenly divided between the parties has put forward its own $1.25 trillion proposal.

Collins, a Republican, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the group has coalesced behind three funding methods: the unused stimulus money, a user fee for electric vehicles that do not pay gas tax and a financing model similar to one used for sewer and water infrastructure.

“There won’t be a gas tax increase and we won’t be undoing the 2017 tax reform bill,” Collins said, referencing her party’s sweeping tax-cut package.

The group may index the gas tax to inflation, however. The tax has not been raised since 1993 and the idea has been raised by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, with some Democrats are open to it. But Biden has rejected the idea of raising taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 annually, which could also doom the electric vehicle fee.

It’s unclear if this proposal will gain any more traction than others that have failed so far, though it has moved beyond those proposals with five Democrats in the group including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who are moderate swing voters in the 50-50 chamber.

The tricky part is paying for such a plan in a way that will satisfy everyone. Biden, who trimmed his initial proposal from a staggering $2.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion prefers the corporate tax hike over user fees such as gas tax hikes and tolls that business groups have long argued for. U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District pointed to increased IRS enforcement as a potential way to fund infrastructure last week.

White House officials met on Thursday with Democratic senators working on a bipartisan agreement. “Some questions still need to be addressed, particularly around details of both policy and pay-fors,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.

Cabinet members and senior White House staff will “work with the Senate group to answer those questions as we consult with other Members in both the House and the Senate,” Bates said.

Bloomberg News writer Erik Wasson contributed to this report.

Jun
2021
15

Susan Collins Pushes Electric-Vehicle Fees for Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke about funding for a bipartisan infrastructure deal, including proposed fees for electric vehicle owners for acting as “free riders” by not paying a gas tax.

“There would be a provision for electric vehicles to pay their fair share of using our roads and bridges. Right now, they are literally free riders because they’re not paying any gas tax,” Collins said during an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday.

Newsweek reached out to Collins for clarification on the proposed fees, whether intending additional fees or using the ones already in existence for funding.

Collins’ comments have received criticism on Twitter, with some users accusing Collins of not representing citizens’ best interests, and some electric vehicle owners complaining about fees already in place.

Vox journalist Aaron Rupar called the proposal “completely absurd” in a tweet.

Another user wrote: “@SenatorCollins Why would you have fees on electric vehicles? Why are Republicans always trying to drag us backwards? Fix the tax system. Tax the multi-billionaires. Jesus Christ, we’re sick of this s**t. And yes, people, I’m embarrassed to say it’s true, Collins is my senator.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website details fees already imposed by 28 states for electric vehicle users to make up for a lack of revenue in gas tax. The special registration fees are typically in addition to traditional registration fees, and 14 states have imposed a fee for plug-in hybrid vehicles that operate on both gas and electricity.

The annual fees for an electric vehicle range from $50 in Hawaii and Colorado to $225 in Washington. In 2019, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio and Wyoming enacted bills that set or increased fees for electric vehicles to $200 a year, the NCSL reported.

Fees for hybrid vehicles that use both electricity and gas were increased from $32 to $48.75 in Iowa this year. While South Carolina does not have an annual fee, electric vehicles require a $120 fee and hybrid vehicles a $60 fee every two years.

Illinois proposed increasing the electric vehicle fee to $1,000 in 2019, when the fee had previously been an additional $17.50 on top of regular registration fees, the Chicago Tribune reported. It was ultimately settled at $258 a year, which was a $100 fee on top of the $158 regular registration fee.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 9: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office building on June 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Collins spoke on Face the Nation about funding for the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
Stefani Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images

The registration fees were created to make up for a lack of revenue from gas taxation, which helps pay for highway repairs and improvements. In 2019 and 2020, at least 19 states considered legislation that would add road user charges as an additional means of collecting infrastructure funding from electric vehicle owners, the NCSL reported.

Additional financing

May
2020
3

Transportation & Urban Infrastructure Studies

Spring 2015 Graduating Class

Department Overview

The Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies (TUIS) in the School of Engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programs in transportation. The Department evolved from the Center for Transportation Studies, established in 1981 to offer the M.S. degree in transportation. Since its inception, scores of young men and women have graduated from the transportation program to assume various leadership positions in the public and private sectors. The Department currently offers the B.S. in Transportation Systems, B.S. in Transportation Systems Engineering, M.S. in Urban Transportation, Post Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Urban Transportation, and Ph.D. in Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Systems; making it one of the largest nationwide with an average enrollment of over 80 students. The B.S. in Transportation Systems Program is accredited by the ANSAC Commission of ABET, Inc.

It is the vision of the Department to be a global leader and a one-stop resource center for transportation education and research.

It is the mission of the Department to provide top-notch education/training and research opportunities for a diverse student body poised to tackle the crosscutting transportation issues of the global community.

Source Article

Apr
2020
20

Hydrogen Cars Fuel Cell Vehicles and Infrastructure

Some say hydrogen cars are the future, but in reality they are here now (just ask Hyundai and Toyota). When H2 cars become the status quo, the U. S. can lessen its dependence upon foreign oil, achieve lower prices at the fuel pumps and cut down on the greenhouse gases that produce global warming.

 

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The future of H2 cars is not a pipe dream, as there are already many hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV’s) and H2ICE (hydrogen internal combustion engine) vehicles on the roads. California, Japan and the European Union (especially Germany) have many H2 cars being used as fleet vehicles now.


Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

In 2005, Honda leased the first commercial FCV to a family in Redondo Beach, California. In 2008, the Honda FCX Clarity became the first production line built fuel cell lease vehicle rolled out to the same family plus dozens others. In late 2012, Hyundai started building production line fuel cell vehicles for sales to fleet managers worldwide.

For the past 36 years, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has been conducting research on fuel cells for use in transportation, industry and residential use.

Unlike many of the hybrid and “green” vehicles currently on the market, hydrogen fuel cells can offer the promise of zero emission technology, where the only byproduct from the automobiles is heat and water vapor. Current fossil-fuel burning vehicles emit all sorts of pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, ozone and microscopic particulate matter.


Zero Emissions …

Hybrids and other green autos address these issues to a large extent but only hydrogen cars hold the promise of zero emission of pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that fossil-fuel automobiles emit 1 ½ billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year and going to hydrogen fuel based transportation would all but eliminate this.

Not only that, H2 autos will lessen the United States’ dependence upon foreign oil. The so-called “hydrogen highway” will mean less dependence upon OPEC, the big U. S. oil companies, oil refinery malfunctions and breakdowns and less resistance from oil-selling nations like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia or from hostile nations who would rather sell elsewhere.


BMW with Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine

Consumers will finally get a break from the never-ending rising prices at the gasoline pumps.

President George W. Bush, when he was in office, allocated approximately $2 billion in hydrogen highway research funds. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was pushing to get 200 H2 fueling stations built by 2010 stretching from Vancouver, British Columbia, all the way down to Baja, California (but had fallen short of this goal because of a poor economy and lack of political will).

Since Californians buy one-fifth of the nation’s automobiles, this location is one of the world’s hotbeds for FCV technology. This is especially true around the Los Angeles area.

New fuel cell technology could replace the current gasoline engine in what is called “disruptive technology” where something so innovative comes along it simply