MDE is providing funds to purchase the vehicles.
Baltimore, Md (KM) About $2.5-million is going to four school districts in the state to purchase buses which run on clean or alternate fuels. The Maryland Department of the Environment says Frederick County is receiving $755,315 to buy two electric school buses, and $555,000 to purchase 22 propane-powered school buses.
“Maryland is putting a priority behind cleaner school buses for the state,” says MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles. “We’re using funds from the Volkswagen settlement, the penalty funds. We’re applying those dollars for cleaner school buses, and we’re very excited about the opportunity for even more in the future.”
Other school systems which received funds for clean and alternative fuels school buses are Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s.
From 2009 to 2015, MDE says certain Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles were equipped with “defeat devices.” This allowed the vehicles to meet emissions standards in a laboratory or a testing station. But during normal operation, these vehicles emitted 40 times the federal standards when it came to nitrogen oxides. About 16,000 of these illegal vehicles were sold in Maryland.
Maryland received $75-million dollars when the carmaker settled with several states and the federal government. Grumbles says this money is being used to promote cleaner school buses. “We’re very proud of this positive step forward for those who ride school buses, and for those who are looking to cleaner cars and buses and trucks throughout the state,” he says.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Grumbles says school buses which run on cleaner fuels have a public health benefit for schoolchildren in that they breathe cleaner air. . “Emissions from diesel buses, particularly the older, dirtier diesel buses, absolutely can affect not just those outside of the buses and along the streets and in communities, but on the buses themselves,” he says.
MDE says there’s about $2.1-million reaming for alternative fuel school bus proposals. That money will become available in the spring of 2020.
“The message is cleaner and smarter and it’s a priority for the state,” says Secretary Grumbles. “And we’re delighted Frederick County stepped up and had proposals,and we look forward to continued progress with them on electric buses, or propane-powered school buses.”
By Kevin McManus