Cash for Clunkers: The Bus Version

Nicolas Loris /

TIGGER: It’s not just a character from Winnie the Pooh. It also stands for the Department of Transportation’s Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction or in other words: cash for buses. The DOT “has spent nearly half its $100 million grant budget to replace diesel buses with cleaner and more efficient hybrid-electric and fully electric models. Like Cash for Clunkers, these grants are intended to be dual-purposed: stimulate the economy and clean the environment.”

And like cash for clunkers, it will most likely do neither. Although Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood believes “investing in green transportation not only helps the planet, but creates jobs and strengthens our economy”, one should take a look at how the cash for clunkers program fared. Yes, consumers took advantage of the taxpayer-funded handout to buy a new car while completely destroying their old one, but after the subsidy program ended so too did car sales. Sales in September for Chrysler, Ford and GM plummeted.