Two rural school districts in Monroe County, Pennsylvania and a third suburban district outside of Philadelphia are splitting more than a half-million dollars in state alternative-fuel funds to purchase new propane school buses.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality announced last week that it is awarding a total of $1.9 million in Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants to businesses and school districts in a dozen counties with the goal of saving approximately 1.2 million gallons of fuel.
East Stroudsburg Area School District in rural Montgomery County near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border won two grants, one for $200,000 to purchase 52 new propane school buses, as the district begins converting its entire fleet of 122 buses to the alternative fuel. The other $180,000 grant will build two propane refueling stations that could potentially be used to fuel other local municipal vehicles as well as buses from neighboring school districts.
Director of Transportation Robert Sutjak explained that Blue Bird won the bid for the 72-passenger Type C buses with Thomas Built Buses winning the 30-passenger bus bid. He added that Sharp energy won the bid to supply both fuel tanks.
Nearby Pocono Mountain School District is receiving $100,000 to purchase 25 new Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses to replace older diesel buses. The propane buses will fuel at a new propane station built on one of the district’s campuses.
The School District of Hatboro-Horsham just north of Philadelphia will use its award of $22,500 to offset the cost of purchasing five new propane school buses. The district will use Upper Moreland School District’s propane fueling station.
“The buses, cars, and trucks purchased and rebuilt with these grants will reduce air pollution and improve the air we breathe,” said Patrick McDonnell, acting secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. “One project, for the East Stroudsburg School District, will save the district nearly 125,000 gallons of gasoline every year. These types of projects pay economic and environmental dividends for communities and Pennsylvania at large, and I am very pleased to be able to award these grants.”
More than 200 propane school buses are now estimated to be in operation statewide.