FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — Frederick County received over a million dollars from the Maryland Department of the Environment for new alternative-fueled school buses.
The department approved $2.5 million in funding for electric and propane-fueled buses as a part of the settlement from the Volkswagen “defeat devices” case.
The funding is part of a pilot program to phase in cleaner-fueled vehicles and improve air quality.
The county will use $755,315 of funding towards two electric school buses and a charging station. Another $555,000 will be used to buy 22 propane-fueled school buses.
“[The buses] still be yellow, it’ll still have 64 to 65 passenger capacity, it will have all the safety amenities that the current school buses do with diesel engines. It’s just a different form of technology moving that bus from bus stop to bus stop,” explained director of transportation for Frederick County Public Schools, Fred Punturiero.
Punturiero explained funding will pay the difference between what a diesel bus would cost, about $90,000, and the $300,000 price tag of an electric bus. The funding does cover 100-percent of the bill for a charging unit.
The next step in process would be to put out a bid for the buses.
Punturiero estimates the school system could roll our the propane fleet of buses by next school year, but the electric buses could take at least two years to purchase and build.
Montgomery County was also awarded nearly $350,000 in funding for one electric school bus and charger.