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Gov. Henry McMaster, Superintendent Molly Spearman, SCDOI Director Ray Farmer Announce $9.33 Million Investment in School Buses, Public Transit

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Governor Henry McMaster was joined by SC Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and SC Department of Insurance (SCDOI) Director Ray Farmer to announce that the first round of funding from the state’s share of the Volkswagen Settlement Fund will be used to invest in new, propane-powered school buses to replace aging buses at the South Carolina Department of Education, and to invest in clean energy public transportation in the Lowcountry and in the City of Anderson.

“This is a good day for South Carolina and a good day for our team,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “I want to thank Superintendent Spearman for submitting this proposal and making sure this money goes towards getting the new buses that our students need. I also want to thank Director Farmer and his team for doing the work necessary to determine that this is the best use of these funds for our students and the people of South Carolina.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of serving alongside Governor McMaster and the South Carolina General Assembly, and we’ve all been committed to improving South Carolina’s school bus fleet,” said Superintendent Molly Spearman. “Today is an exciting day – I am so thankful that the Department of Insurance has seen the need and has supported us in this effort.”

For video of the event, visit the governor’s YouTube page.

In June of 2017, Governor McMaster designated SCDOI as the lead agency in determining how the state’s share of the Volkswagen Settlement Fund, totaling $34 million, should be invested. Under the settlement terms, the lead agency must administer and develop a written Beneficiary Mitigation Plan explaining how the funds will be used within our state to reduce emissions and seek public input for the use of funds.

“While these initial funds are a great step, our work on the project is only beginning,” said Director Ray Farmer.

After a public comment period, SCDOI partially funded three of eight total applications. The award recipients are as follows:

SC Department of Education

  • 78 Thomas Built propane school buses
    • Lexington District 1 (22 buses)
    • Horry County Schools (20 buses)
    • Richland District 2 (18 buses)
    • Beaufort County Schools (18 buses)
  • Award amount: Up to $7,872,618.00
  • Total project costs: $7,872,618.00
  • SCDOE will provide funding from the following sources:
    • *Revenues from scrappage of buses to be replaced will be allocated toward project costs

Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments

  • 2 Proterra electric transit buses + charging stations will be purchased for CARTA
  • Award amount: Up to $1,386,950.40
  • Total project costs: $1,733,688.00
  • BCDCOG will provide funding from the following sources:
    • 20% of total project costs will be funded through Charleston County sales tax ($346,737.60)
    • Revenues from scrappage of buses to be replaced will be allocated toward project costs

City of Anderson

  • 1 ElDorado National Axess compressed natural gas transit bus
  • Award amount: Up to $73,568.55
  • Total project costs: $490,457.00
  • The City of Anderson will provide funding from the following sources:
    • 85% of total project costs will be funded through a federal grant ($416,888.45)
    • Revenues from scrappage of buses to be replaced will be allocated toward project costs

For more information on the Volkswagen Settlement Fund, visit doi.sc.gov/vwsettlement.

 SOURCE: https://doi.sc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/12047/Round-1-Press-Release--933-Million-Investment-in-School-Buses-Public-Transit