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State To Help Purchase Electric Buses With Volkswagen Money

Laura Supalla Gilchrist/Flickr

Electric city buses and school buses are just some of vehicles the state will help buy with money from the Volkswagen settlement. Indiana received more than $40 million to reduce the state’s diesel emissions after the company violated the Clean Air Act. 

This first round awarded two electric transit buses each for the cities of Fort Wayne and Gary as well as one electric bus for Bartholomew Consolidated Schools, Monroe County Community Schools, Delphi Community Schools, and Carmel Clay Schools.

Susan Mudd is a senior policy advocate with the Environmental Law and Policy Center — which helped inform communities and schools about the opportunity to go electric. She says she’s pleased that children riding these school buses will breathe cleaner air.

“Diesel pollution contributes to childhood asthma, which is the number one chronic disease among children in the U.S.,” Mudd says.

Though Indiana’s electricity mostly comes from coal, Mudd says these vehicles are getting greener as more renewables come online.

READ MORE: State Revises Plan For Spending VW Settlement Money Based On Public Feedback

Shawn Seals administers grant programs for diesel emission reductions for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. He says electric school buses are still relatively new technology, so how they work for these districts will help inform future projects.

“There’s just a lot of variety in those four projects that should tell us some really good stories and give us some good information,” Seals says.

In this first round, more than $9.8 million will help pay for 179 vehicles or equipment in 23 counties in Indiana. The committee that approved the awards got requests for nearly three times as much money as what the state had to spend this round.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.