After months of review — and two member resignations — Edgartown’s VTA Church Street committee gave an enthusiastic endorsement during Monday’s selectmen’s meeting of a controversial plan to install three electric bus induction chargers at the downtown bus terminal.

“In short, the committee strongly supports the installation of three inductive chargers under Church Street in Edgartown,” committee member and town VTA board representative Mark Snider said Monday. “The inductive charger project has no cost to the town, will have an overall positive impact on the attractiveness of Church Street, and is essential to achieving all electric bus service for Martha’s Vineyard.”

The ad hoc committee was formed after a warrant article passed at Edgartown’s annual town meeting this summer asking voters to reconsider and review in further detail the VTA’s induction charger project. The $1.4 million project also includes a redevelopment of the Church Street bus terminal’s landscaping and patio in downtown Edgartown and has already received town approval.

But critics of the proposal have forcefully pushed back against the project since it was approved in 2019, voicing concerns about constant traffic, congestion and noise in the Edgartown historic district. The committee, which originally consisted of nine members, was slimmed down to seven after vocal opponents of the project and historic district residents Jane Chittick and Sara Piazza resigned this summer.

In emails with committee members announcing their resignations, which were shared with the Gazette, Ms. Piazza and Ms. Chittick expressed frustration with the composition of the committee, its leadership and its procedure.

On Monday, the remaining members of the committee presented a report on the induction charger project that found it to be consistent with the town’s energy policy goals, as well as providing numerous benefits to the town’s residents and its economic vitality.

Mr. Snider, in his presentation, said the committee met nine times, held site visits, and considered alternative locations for the charging stations, such as the Dark Woods park-and-ride lot just outside of town. But with considerations like customer preference, current VTA route schedules and economic efficiency in mind, he said it was clear that the Church Street location was best for the induction chargers. 

“There will be no change to number of buses or the length of time any bus spends on Church Street,” Mr. Snider said. “In conclusion...We feel the 10-12 year life span [of the chargers] will have a great improvement on life on Church Street.”

Doris Ward, a committee member who lives across the street from the bus terminal, also spoke at length in favor of the proposal. While she jokingly noted that Church Street was “the busiest street on the planet, maybe the universe,” she said the benefits of electric buses were tremendous, for both the environment and the community.

“Could it be that the diesel buses, which are so loud, could be quieted by the sweet silence of an all-electric bus?” Ms. Ward said. “They take away all noise pollution that the diesel buses could cause. They give dignity to the street and lack of intrusion to our sense of cacophony. I dream about how green this could be for our tiny little Island, that has always been delicate and special.”

The committee’s presentation is available on the town’s website.

“See you at town meeting,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said.

At the conclusion of the meeting Monday, Ms. Chittick told selectmen that she would be presenting an alternate version of the committee’s conclusions at a later date.

“I will be presenting my version of the VTA Church Street report at an upcoming meeting,” Ms. Chittick said. “It will be contrary to the official report.”

In other business, selectmen approved a plaque that will honor all Chappaquiddick residents, and specifically Richard Knight, that will go on the recently-erected Chappy Ferry flagpole. Chappy Ferry owner Peter Wells informed selectmen about the plaque at the meeting.

Mr. Knight, a longtime Chappaquiddick resident, died earlier this year and was instrumental in the flagpole’s acquisition and installation.

“It’s a marvelous idea,” Mr. Smadbeck said.