Several North Texas Districts Awarded Grant Money for New Buses

Grant money to be used for lower-emission, more environmentally friendly school bus upgrades

Whether you're recycling at home, avoiding single-use plastic or drinking out of re-usable straws, there are lots of ways people are choosing to be environmentally friendly.

Some Texas school districts are doing their part through lower emissions buses using clean diesel or even propane.

According to the Diesel Technology Forum, as of July 2019, 94% of school buses in the U.S. are diesel-powered.

In the U.S., 46% of buses in the country are now being powered by the newest generation of clean diesel technology, a 6.5% increase from last year.

But it's not cheap to upgrade. Just one clean diesel school bus can cost at least $100,000.

To help school districts upgrade their fleets and not break their budget, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently awarded $50 million in grants to districts around the state.

About 18 different districts in Dallas, Tarrant, Johnson, Denton and Collin counties were picked for these grants with the total amount of money awarded locally topping $8 million.

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD scored one of the highest grant totals, more than $1 million, to replace 16 buses with cleaner burning diesel.

"Regular diesel has always been a dirtier fuel. It's very cost effective for districts, but it's not as clean," said district spokeswoman Deanne Hullender.

She said this gives the district a chance for money to be focused on other areas of the district.

"Anytime public education and and independent school districts get a grant, it's always a positive thing because that allows us to take money and put it back into the classroom," said Hullender. "This grant not only saves the district over a million dollars, it provides safety for our students and takes care of maintenance costs that would cost the district money. It also cleans the air, which is a win win for everybody."

School districts are also starting to see a big shift toward propane-fueled buses.

This year, West Virginia University released a study that proves propane school buses dramatically decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx). According to the EPA, exposure to NOx exhaust can trigger health problems like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory issues.

According to the Propane Council of Texas, more than 3,000 propane school buses are in Texas, which is the leading the nation in the adoption of propane school buses. More than 70 school districts in the state are operating propane.

More than 200 propane buses are being driven locally within Arlington and Denton ISDs with Denton acquiring nine more buses through this recent grant.

Click here to for more details on the TCEQ grant awards.

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