SFPS to spend $1.1 million settlement on electric buses

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Jul. 17—The steering committee for a 2017 lawsuit settlement from car manufacturer Volkswagen recently awarded Santa Fe Public Schools about $1.1 million in its third round of funding distribution.

New Mexico was awarded $18 million in the settlement, which alleged the company produced cars with faulty devices that resulted in undetected pollution from nitrogen oxides.

Superintendent Hilario "Larry" Chavez said the funds the school district receives will be used to purchase electric-powered buses that will reduce tailpipe pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs.

The funds, totaling $1,119,987, will{span} replace one 2010 and two 2011 diesel engine school buses with three 2023 electric models, the district said last week.

"SFPS will continue to seek alternative fuel options for transportation in an effort to reduce air pollutants in our community and create a healthier ride to and from school for our students," Chavez said in a news release.

In 2020, the district added an electric school bus funded by the settlement at $341,700, along with six lower-emission propane buses to its bus fleet.

According to the state Environment Department, approximately $7.3 million from the settlement was included in its third round of funding.

Other recipients have not been posted yet, but other districts, including Gallup-McKinley County Schools and Albuquerque Public Schools, were previously awarded funds for electric buses.