You (Didn’t) Pay For It: VW Settlement funds propane school buses

You (Didn’t) Pay For It: VW Settlement funds propane school buses
Beaufort County School officials say the propane-fueled buses will cost half as much to fuel and maintain as older models. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Several state school districts are getting new propane-fueled school buses worth more than $100,000 each.

But in this case, you, the taxpayer, are not paying for very much of it.

After an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen officials admitted they installed devices

to cheat diesel emissions tests in some vehicles.

VW had to pay $2.925 billion dollars into a trust to counter the environmental harm. South Carolina is receiving nearly $34 million of that settlement.

We now know some of the money will buy new propane- fueled school buses in these school districts:

  • Lexington District 1 (22 buses)
  • Horry County Schools (20 buses)
  • Richland District 2 (18 buses)
  • Beaufort County Schools (18 buses)

“We’ve been working now to make sure our fleet is not only safe and energy efficient, but that it is safe for our environment," SC Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said at a press event earlier this week. "A good role model for our students to see. So with this funding we will be purchasing 78 propane buses to be located across the state.”

The C2 Propane Thomas Built buses have safety features such as 360 degree cameras and LED lights.

The cost $100,860 each.

Beaufort County Schools is thrilled to get newer buses, which they say will cost half as much to fuel and maintain as older models.

The district will have to invest some of its own money, though; the propane buses need a new fueling station. The district estimates it will cost $25,000 to $40,000 to build.

The new buses should arrive in the designated districts in January next year.

“Districts were chosen based off the availability of infrastructure, willingness to install and undergo training, and the number of 1988 buses within the district," South Carolina Department of Education spokesperson Ryan Brown said. "We also received over $20 million from the General Assembly in this year’s budget to purchase new budgets and those will also be spread around the state.”

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has also been awarded some of that settlement money to purchase two new electric buses and charging stations.

The goal of all of these projects is to reduce emissions in South Carolina.

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