Subsidy to replace school buses with propane vehicles | education
Halifax County will receive a $ 79,820 grant to replace 10 diesel buses with propane buses.
The current fleet of around 120 buses currently includes an estimated 30 propane buses with gas stations at Syndor Jennings Elementary School, Cluster Springs Elementary School and Scottsburg Elementary School.
That more than $ 79,000 is part of a $ 10.5 million grant from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, to drive 83 diesel school buses through electric and propane buses in 19 school districts in the Commonwealth to replace.
“Many of our families are struggling to make ends meet,” said Tammy Lacks Moore, director of transportation for Halifax County’s public schools. “These funds will allow us to replace 10 diesel buses without increasing taxes for our already burdened population, while at the same time ensuring that we are doing everything we can to improve our community.”
Keith McDowell, current member of the Halifax County School Board and former transportation assistant for Halifax County’s public schools, has been advocating more propane buses since 2014, working with Virginia Clean Cities, former Transportation Director Dwight Elam, and others to raise funding for more to secure propane business.
“Propane is more efficient and cheaper,” said McDowell before explaining the benefits of saving not just fuel but also maintenance.
The headmaster Dr. Mark Lineburg praised McDowell for his efforts, as well as his efforts in the Transportation Department, in helping Halifax County’s public schools “be more energy efficient and reduce long-term care costs.”
Now with the Halifax County grant for these propane buses in 2021, Halifax County Public School officials and school board members are looking at buses for sale.
The grant that provides the money for this initiative comes from a foundation that is financed by Volkswagen Siedlung, which is committed to reducing emissions and supporting environmental programs.
The attorney general’s office announced in 2016 a settlement with Volkswagen, which is providing US $ 2.7 billion for environmental protection. This settlement has provided funding for many green initiatives across the Commonwealth.
The attorney general’s negotiations on this settlement secured resources for environmental purposes for many years and reaffirmed Virginia’s commitment to a clean economy.
In September 2019, Governor Ralph Northam donated $ 20 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to support new initiatives to deploy electric school buses across the Commonwealth.
The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for distributing Virginia’s $ 93.6 million share of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust by investing in a variety of technologies that offer cost-effective, short-term emissions benefits coupled with zero-emission technologies long-term benefits offer services.
To date, around $ 62 million has been awarded for innovative projects including electric mass transit, school and shuttle buses, electrical equipment in the Port of Virginia, and the development of a nationwide charging network for electric vehicles.
The Ministry of Environmental Quality will begin accepting requests for an additional round of funding for public school districts to buy more propane or electric school buses in October.