Virginia to use $10.5 million grant to get electric buses for schools

Gov. Northam announced more than $10.5 million in grants will go to 19 school systems to...
Gov. Northam announced more than $10.5 million in grants will go to 19 school systems to purchase electric and propane buses.(NBC12)
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:38 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 12:10 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The governor announced that over $10.5 million in grants will replace 83 diesel buses with electric and propane buses across school districts in Virginia.

The funds come from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, funded by the Volkswagen settlement, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

“Virginia’s investments in electrifying the school bus fleets is an important and critical part of our comprehensive approach to reducing pollution,” said Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor. “Collectively, the replacement of these school buses is calculated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons per year, and will save one million gallons of diesel fuel, equivalent to removing 2,000 cars from the road.”

By providing clean bus alternatives, the DEQ will help the state:

  • Achieve clean energy goals
  • Reduce air pollution
  • Mitigate climate change

“We all benefit from transitioning away from diesel school buses and investing in clean alternatives for our transportation system,” Governor Northam said. “I know how important clean air is for children’s health. Since I took office, the Commonwealth has been focused on transforming the electric grid, developing clean energy resources, and addressing the climate crisis through initiatives that allow Virginia to invest in a clean and healthy future.”

A total of 19 school districts will receive these funds.

There are three school systems in Central Virginia which will utilize the money for new electric and propane buses:

  • Caroline County will receive $265,000 in funds with one electric bus.
  • Chesterfield County will receive $96,226 in funds for ten propane buses
  • Louisa County will receive $530,000 in funds with two electric buses.

Electric buses are emissions-free and are free of noise pollution and fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, DEQ officials said $62 million of Virginia’s $93.6 million share from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust has already been awarded for various projects.

Posted by Climate Action Campaign on Thursday, August 19, 2021

A major effort is also underway to create a statewide electric-vehicle charging network so buses and other vehicle can charge up on the road.

“[This] will dramatically transform the transportation sector which accounts for the majority of U.S. carbon emissions,” said Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. “While spurring jobs in the U.S. manufacturing of electric vehicles and the installation of massive charging networks.”

The DEQ will begin accepting applications in October for an additional round of funds for public school districts to purchase more propane and electric school buses.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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