RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — On Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam announced more than $10.5 million in funds to replace 83 diesel school buses with electric and propane buses in 19 school districts across Commonwealth.
Several Hampton Roads localities are expected to get funds for several new buses, including, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. They will get a combined 24 new buses.
“Being selected to receive funds for 10 propane buses expands our ability to provide safe, reliable, and clean transportation for our students who deserve nothing but the best,” said Newport News Public Schools Director of Transportation Shay Coates. “As a major organization within our community, we feel we must set the example in protecting our environment.”
The funds come from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, which is the result of a 2016 settlement with Volkswagen that committed $2.7 billion to environmental mitigation.
“We all benefit from transitioning away from diesel school buses and investing in clean alternatives for our transportation system,” said Governor Northam. “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.”
The Department of Environmental Quality will begin accepting applications in October for an additional round of funds for public school districts to purchase more propane or electric school buses.
“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.”