RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia will dedicate $20 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund a new initiative in an effort to speed up getting electric school buses across the state.
Starting next year, public schools can apply for funding through a competitive application process that will prioritize school buses with a small reserve set aside for propane school buses.
“School buses are the safest way to transport students to and from school, but as a pediatric doctor, I know the harmful effects of diesel-powered buses on our children’s health,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “This initiative represents a significant investment in the electrification of our transportation system, in our efforts to address the climate crisis, and in an environment that allows Virginia children to learn, grow, and thrive.”
Most of Virginia’s school buses run on diesel and approximately 3,500 buses are more than 10 years old.
“Public school districts may be reimbursed up to $265,000 for the purchase of an all-electric school bus, including charging infrastructure. Public school districts may be reimbursed up to $20,000 for the purchase of a propane bus provided that the bus being replaced is a model year 1997 or older bus and that the application includes justification why an electric school bus is not feasible as a replacement,” a release said.
Electric school buses purchased have a minimum range of 100 miles.
“Transportation pollution is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “Additionally, diesel exhaust poses significant health risks associated with both pulmonary and cardiovascular issues. Transitioning bus fleets from diesel to electric is a critically important step toward cleaner air, reducing carbon pollution, and helping Virginia meet our environmental goals.”
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