OSD to receive three electric buses

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OSD to receive three electric buses
Olympia School District Electric School BusThe Olympia School District will add the first three electric school buses to its fleet thanks to a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The three battery-powered school buses are among 40 that will be purchased with nearly $12 million in Ecology grants awarded to 22 school districts statewide.

The grant awards are one of the “largest investments in zero-emission school buses in the country,” according to a press release issued by the Department of Ecology.

“Children face the greatest risk from diesel pollution, and giving them cleaner transportation to school is a priority,” said Department of Ecology Director Laura Watson. “These buses are an important first step toward helping every student in Washington start and end their days with an emission-free ride.”

The state grants, funded by a statewide emissions settlement with Volkswagen, are intended to accelerate replacing older diesel school buses and help cover the additional costs of purchasing an electric bus, compared to a conventional diesel bus.

The new electric school buses will replace three of the Olympia School District’s diesel buses manufactured in 1997. The full-size buses are expected to join the 87-bus fleet within the next year, said Transportation Director Rhonda Morton.

“It makes my heart so happy to know that our grant application was approved for not one but three electric buses,” Morton said. “This is one way we can contribute to helping with air quality in Thurston County.”

Superintendent Patrick Murphy added, “We are so appreciative to the Department of Ecology for this grant that will result in our ability to have cleaner buses to transport our students to and from school. Transitioning to electric bus transportation has been a priority of our students and our school board. Curbing carbon emissions contributes to a cleaner environment.”

The $900,906 grant awarded to Olympia School District will pay for three electric buses and associated charging stations. It takes about eight hours to fully charge a bus, and a full electric charge can power a school bus to travel between 80 and 100 miles.