Gov. McMaster announces $24M investment for school buses, public transit

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster announced on Tuesday a $25.54 million investment for school buses and public transit.

It comes from the second round of funding from South Carolina’s share of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, which will be invested in 235 new propane-fueled buses to update the state’s aging fleet.

Gov. McMaster was joined by Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and S.C. Department of Insurance (SCDOI) Director Ray Farmer for the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Three electric transit buses will also be purchased for use in Charleston and Florence, according to Gov. McMaster.

Funds totaling $608,000 will be used to purchase an electric transit bus for CARTA. The   Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has committed 20% of the funds as a local match.

The bus will be purchased from Proterra, which manufactures the electric buses in South Carolina.

Additionally, $23,635,830 will be used to purchase 235 propane school buses. The SC Department of Education has committed $87,400 to build two new propane fueling stations to expand the propane school bus fleet throughout the state

The Charleston County School District, Berkeley County School District, and Dorchester District 2 will be among 11 SC districts to receive the buses.

“Today marks an important day for our state,” said Gov. McMaster. “Director Farmer and his team accepted an immense challenge in determining how these funds should be invested to benefit as many South Carolinians as possible, and they have exceeded expectations. Because of today’s announcement, those in our state who rely on public transit and the children who rely on our school buses will be safer.”

State Superintendent Molly Spearman said the announcement shows South Carolina is fully committed to providing the safest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly school buses in the nation.

“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 taxpayers millions of dollars while drastically reducing emissions,” she said.

Governor McMaster appointed the SCDOI as the lead agency for administering the state’s $34 million allocation under the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust in 2017. In 2019, Governor McMaster announced that $9.33 million would be invested to purchase 78 new propane school buses and four clean energy transit buses under the first round of Trust funds.

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