The MBTA took a major step Monday toward preparing for a more electrified bus fleet when its oversight board approved the $38.2 million purchase of a Quincy property for construction of a new bus maintenance facility.

Fiscal and Management Control Board members voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a parcel at 599 Burgin Parkway in Quincy, which will eventually serve as the home for a larger bus facility replacing the existing century-old maintenance location on Hancock Street.

“The existing facility is severely limited,” MBTA Chief of Real Estate Richard Henderson told the board before Monday’s vote. “It can only support the oldest diesel buses in the fleet. We expect it to be retired in the next several years, so we really need a new facility here.”

Demolition of the Hancock Street facility will start by the end of the year, while construction of the new facility should be “substantially complete” by the end of 2024, according to a T spokesman.

The new facility will have capacity for 120 buses, compared to 86 in the current facility, and will be designed to support battery electric buses as the MBTA pursues a long-term goal of electrifying its vehicles.

Environmental and transportation advocates are pushing the T to invest more rapidly in electric vehicles to help meet new statutory climate and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Some have criticized the agency for plans to purchase hybrid buses rather than all-electric buses to replace hybrid vehicles running on the Silver Line.

The MBTA has previously flagged issues with power capacity on battery electric buses as an obstacle to converting its entire fleet, an issue that could improve as new technology is developed.

(Copyright (c) 2021 State House News Service.

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