USD awarded nearly $4M for electric buses

USD awarded nearly $4M for electric buses, charging infrastructure
Posted on 10/26/2022
This is the image for the news article titled USD awarded nearly $4M for electric buses, charging infrastructureThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified the Uintah School District that it has been awarded $3,950,000 through the agency’s 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates program.

The funds include $3,750,000 to help the district purchase 10 new electric school buses and $200,000 for building infrastructure to charge the buses. USD is one of only two Utah districts to be awarded funding from the EPA.

“Our decision to apply for this funding was based, in part, on a letter the district received earlier this year from the Utah Petroleum Association encouraging us to electrify our fleet and look for other ways to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the Uintah Basin,” Uintah Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Woodford said.

“Also, with the addition of these 10 new buses, the district is saving local taxpayers more than $1 million over the next three years that would have otherwise gone to purchase route buses on our regular replacement schedule,” Woodford said.

In August, the Uintah School Board voted unanimously in an open meeting to direct district administrators to apply for the EPA funding. At the time, the district already had the backing of the Utah Petroleum Association, which sent its letter to the superintendent in March.

“As local area oil producers, we wholly support and encourage any efforts made by the local area to reduce emissions that impact our air quality, and particularly those that lead to our winter ozone challenges, such as diesel emissions,” Utah Petroleum Association President Rikki Hrenko-Browning wrote.

“We support electrifying fleets and finding other tools to reduce emissions and improve air quality,” Hrenko-Browning added. “We feel that together we can find and implement solutions that will allow for cleaner air and a cleaner environment while allowing local industry to thrive and compete on a global scale.”

In exchange for receiving funding from the EPA, the school district must remove 10 diesel buses from its fleet. These so-called “dirty buses” were built in 2010 or earlier, so they lack more modern emission control systems. They cannot be sold as surplus. Instead, they must be scrapped, per the requirements of the EPA program.

The EPA program also requires the district to use the new electric buses for at least 5 years from the time of delivery. The electric buses will be used for local routes only, primarily in the Vernal area. At present there are no plans to use them for out-of-area travel.

The district’s current fleet consists of 36 diesel buses and 27 propane buses.
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