COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The first round of Volkswagen settlement funds from South Carolina’s share of the Volkswagen settlement fund will be used to buy new, propane-powered school buses, officials announced Tuesday morning.
A total of 78 new school buses will be purchased along with three public transit buses will be purchased, according to S.C. Department of Insurance Director Ray Farmer. The state was allocated $34 million.
“With a number of applications for the use of the money, we determined that this was the best one for the children and the people of South Carolina,” said Gov. Henry McMaster.
However, $9.33 million will be allocated to purchase buses in the first round of funding.
“We’ve all been committed to improving the South Carolina school bus fleet,” said S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “One of our top goals is always the safety of our students. When I took office in January 2015, I realized very quickly that our school bus fleet was one of the worst in the nation. We put that as a top priority to change that.”
Lexington District 1 is slated to receive 22 new buses. Horry County will receive 20 buses while Richland District Two and Beaufort County Schools will each get 18 buses.
Two new electric transit buses will replace older buses in the Lowcountry while the other public bus, which will use compressed natural gas, will be sent to Anderson.
In June of 2017, Governor McMaster named the South Carolina Department of Insurance as the lead agency to determine how the funds should be allocated. Under the settlement terms, the lead agency must administer and develop a written Beneficiary Mitigation Plan explaining how the funds will be used within our state to reduce emissions and seek public input for the use of funds.
Since the original announcement, the state’s share of the settlement funds has increased from $31 million to $34 million. Additional rounds of funding will be announced at a later date.
For more information about the settlement fund, visit https://doi.sc.gov/889/Volkswagen-Settlement/.