Kilgore ISD submits application for Texas Clean School Bus Program
Kilgore ISD has submitted an application for a chance to receive federal grant funds for replacing or retrofitting one or more existing school buses in their fleet with an electric-powered alternative. KISD Director of Transportation Brady Wheeler discussed the grant and application process at Monday’s school board meeting.
“I submitted an application and some information about our bus fleet,” Wheeler said.
“All of us are interested in this in the transportation department.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has accepted applications for the Texas Clean School Bus (TCSB) Program.
An estimated $13 million in grant funding is available to replace or retrofit school buses to help reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust in and around diesel-fueled school buses.
TCSB grants are available statewide, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and may reimburse up to 100 percent of the cost to retrofit school buses, or up to 80 percent of the cost to replace school buses with newer, cleaner models.
Buses eligible for this program must be used on a regular daily route. Since its inception, the TCSB has awarded over $14 million in grant funding.
While there is no guarantee KISD will be awarded a grant, Wheeler said, if they did receive the funding, it may be possible to replace some of their oldest model school buses which transport students inside city limits.
Wheeler said some models of electric school buses can travel 180 to 200 miles on a single charge, enough to cover any of KISD’s normal routes.
However, he added, they would not be suitable for transporting students to distant destinations unless recharging facilities could be located en route.
Additionally, he said the grant would include recharging equipment to use for the bus but the district would have to cover the cost of its installation and upkeep.
Some electric buses can be fully charged in 3 to 4 hours, he said, and other than the engine, they are virtually identical to standard school buses.
More information is available at www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus.
The TCSB is administered under the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP).
TERP helps to keep the air clean in Texas by providing grants to reduce Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions from mobile sources and supporting programs that encourage the use of alternative fuels for transportation in Texas.
To date, TERP has distributed more than $1.4 billion in grants and reduced NOx emissions by more than 186,000 tons.