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VW emissions settlement could lead to new school buses

School bus
Bill McChesney
Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Volkswagen emissions scandal settlement from earlier this year could mean new school buses for thousands of Michigan students.

School officials in the state have put together a proposal asking for almost $30 million to be used to replace aging diesel busses. They say there are more than 5,000 diesel buses in Michigan that are more than 10 years old that should be replaced with vehicles with cleaner-running diesel engines or powered by natural gas.

Don Oldendorf is a schools lobbyist working on the project, and he says the new buses could be fueled by cleaner diesel or natural gas.

“So the notion is that would help the state, help school districts, help air quality.”

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has opened a public comment period on how Michigan’s share of the settlement money should be used.

Olendorf says, even if it’s approved, $30 million would only begin to address the need to replace old school buses.

“Do the math, it’s about $500 million to replace them all, for a bus that’s 90 thousand to a 100 thousand dollars, so, to break it down, we’re trying to discuss how to do that, trying to discuss how to get improved transportation services for kids.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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