SC to spend $23M from settlement on new school buses to replace part of aging fleet

Joseph Bustos
·1 min read

More South Carolina school children will get to ride to school on new buses after the state approved millions of dollars in spending to replace aging buses.

The state Department of Education and the Department of Insurance on Tuesday announced it will spend $23.6 million on 235 new school buses for 11 school districts.

“Not only will these new propane buses help ensure over 300,000 bus riders get to and from school safely and on time, it will save tax payers millions of dollars while drastically reducing emissions,” said Superintendent Molly Spearman.

The state also awarded $608,000 to the Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority for an additional electric bus and $295,500 buses to the Pee Dee Transportation Authority two electric transit buses and charging stations.

In 2019, the state awarded $7.8 million to four school districts to buy 78 new buses. CARTA received $1.4 million for two electric transit buses and charging stations, and the city of Anderson received $73,500 to help pay for a natural gas transit bus.

Money for the buses comes from South Carolina’s $34 million share of a $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust set up in 2017 by German automaker Volkswagen to settle litigation brought forward by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California. Volkwagen officials admitted to installing devices in its vehicles intended to cheat diesel emissions tests.

In 2017, the state Education Department said it needed $72 million to replace about 35% of South Carolina’s 5,600 school buses.

This story will be updated.