NC awards $30 million for clean school bus replacements, 43 new electric school buses
RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — More than $30.1 million from the N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program will be distributed by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to fund 161 new school buses across the state (16 in the Cape Fear), with the majority of the funding going toward new all-electric school buses.
The new zero-emission and low-emission school buses are replacing some of the dirtiest diesel buses in the state, including some older than 30 years that emit more than 20 times the nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter of today’s clean buses.
“Today is a good day for the health and pocketbooks of North Carolinians as we continue on our path to clean transportation,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “Transitioning to cleaner school buses reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers costs to our schools, creates great manufacturing jobs and reduces pollution in our poorer communities.”
The new buses will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 126 tons over their lifetimes combined. More than $16.5 million will fund 43 electric school buses and associated charging infrastructure, providing a 100% reduction in diesel emissions and greenhouse gases for these projects. NOx leads to the formation of ground-level ozone, which in turn aggravates asthma and can cause breathing trouble in young children and older adults. The small particles that make up particulate matter are linked to heart and lung conditions.
The School Bus Program is the largest grant program in Phase 2 of the N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program, which covers the remaining $68 million of the state’s share of a national settlement with the automaker. The state is awarding the funds through grants and rebates to support the replacement of old diesel vehicles with clean alternatives and the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state.