MARTINSVILLE, Texas (KETK) – President Joe Biden and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are offering more than $50 million in grants to schools across the country to buy electric buses. Some of that money is coming here to East Texas.
“This will allow our school district to be able to trade in four school buses with an average age of 17 years old,” said Will Cauthen, assistant superintendent of Martinsville ISD.
Martinsville and Cushing ISD were two of the five East Texas districts that were given grants, and they say this money going to help a lot. The others are Kilgore ISD, who is receiving $1,580,000, and North Hopkins, who will receive $790,000.
“It means cost savings, $500,000 we’d spent on two new bus, diesel buses, can now be spent somewhere else to help our students,” Superintendent of Cushing ISD Brandon Enos said.
Both school districts have concerns when it comes to the electric transportation, such as driving longer routes for students who live out in the country.
“The charging times, the use that you can use the bus, it would definitely affect a small district,” said Andy Gresham, Director of Operations at Cushing ISD.
Some schools like Queen City ISD are not letting that stop them from trying to go green.
“We’re taking it as an opportunity to upgrade our fleet and try out the most modern technology.”Darrian Dover, Superintendent of Queen City ISD.
Along with the money for the electric buses, schools were also given extra funds to keep them running.
“We were also awarded $20,000 per bus for the charging stations,” said Gresham.
When it comes to the look of the bus, they are still yellow and inside will be the same with a few differences.
“There just going to have a little bit different color bumper, it may be blue or green on the actual look of it,” Cauthen said.
Bus drivers will have to go through training before they start picking up students.
At this time, the Environmental Protection agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. The other eight districts in Texas that received grants are: Dallas, Socorro, Wolfe City, Killeen, Houston, Matagorda, Refugio and San Felipe-Del Rio.