This is in response to a Dec, story about a presentation Jane Chittick made to the Edgartown selectmen about the VTA project to install inductive chargers on Church street. We are members of the Church street review committee that strongly supported the project in a report submitted to the Edgartown selectmen on Nov. 9.

First, inductive chargers are not an untested technology. They’ve been used successfully in over a dozen locations in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. The Wenatchee, Wash., maintenance director told our committee that their 2018 inductive charger was so successful that they are now installing three new chargers.

Currently available alternatives to electric buses are not well suited to Martha’s Vineyard. The VTA already has electric buses and clean diesel buses. The clean diesel buses are what the VTA is trying to get away from because they are noisy, dirty and expensive to maintain compared to the electric buses. Hybrid buses are not suitable because they have a full diesel system in addition to an electric system, so they have the same maintenance and other negatives as clean diesel buses.

The inductive charger project will not be funded mainly through federal and state grants. In fact, all the project costs are covered by competitive grants already awarded to the VTA. The individuals at the agencies responsible for the grants are knowledgeable experts who chose the VTA project after careful review.

The project won’t permanently harm an area in the Edgartown historic district. There will be no change to the numbers or sizes of the buses on Church street, or to the length of time each stops there. The two beautiful mature shade trees in front of the visitor center will remain untouched. An arborist found that the three Norway maples to be replaced with new shade trees have numerous gashes, large dead branches, and decay in their trunks. Three nonhistoric utility poles will be removed, while ADA accessibility, seating, and shelter will be improved, and old-fashioned street lanterns like those elsewhere in Edgartown will be installed.

The Edgartown historic district commission found that the two electrical equipment cabinets needed in front of the visitor center are the most unsightly part of the project, but the commission also determined that the building is not historic, dating to the 1980s, and concluded that the designers “have struck a pretty good balance.” The commission’s certificate of appropriateness is conditioned on approval of informational graphics and/or fencing around the cabinets before they are installed.

Electric bus technology, like any other technology, evolves over time. If the inductive chargers eventually are no longer needed, they can be removed. In the interim, they will enable the VTA to be all-electric by 2027, instead of waiting the 20 or 30 years suggested by Ms. Chittick in her presentation.

The full report of our committee can be found at

Julia Livingston


Also signed by committee members Keith Chatinover, Mark Snider, Alan Strahler, Bill Veno and Doris Ward.