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Possum was living in unused, $1 million taxpayer-funded bus

A possum in Southern California has been relocated from living in the belly of a zero-emission bus that was never put into service, CBS Los Angeles reports. According to the station, more than a million dollars in state funding paid for the bus in Burbank, outside Los Angeles.

The possum bared its teeth to a CBS Los Angeles camera crew from the bus' engine compartment. "It scared me," said a former transit employee who showed the animal to the crew. "When it snarled at me, I just jumped back. That's when I took a picture of it because I said, 'Nobody's going to believe me.'"

The bus was supposed to be powered by a lithium-titanate battery pack supplemented by fuel cells, according to a 2010 U.S. Department of Energy publication. David Kriske, who works for Burbank's city government, said the bus was never put into service.

"We could not get the bus to operate in a reliable way that would allow us to rely on it to be able to provide trips for paying customers," Kriske said. 

Still, the California Air Resources Board, which was the primary source of funding for the bus, told CBS Los Angeles the money was well-spent.

The board told the station that knowing the technology didn't work helped develop other fuel-efficient methods. A taxpayer advocacy group told the station it was a waste of money.

"The government doesn't care because they coerced the money out of taxpayers," said Susan Shelley of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "It's not their money. They're just happy to write the check, and then they're done. They can say, 'Look, we funded this,' but it's useless. It's a waste."

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