The majority of the first round of grants from South Carolina’s share of the Volkswagen Settlement Fund will be used to purchase propane autogas school buses to replace aging buses.
The South Carolina Department of Education will receive $7,872,618 to purchase 78 Thomas Built propane autogas school buses: 22 for the Lexington District, 20 for Horry County Schools, 18 for Richland District 2 and 18 for Beaufort County Schools.
In addition, the City of Anderson has received $73,568 to help purchase one ElDorado National Axess compressed natural gas (CNG) transit bus. A federal grant of $416,888 will also help fund the purchase.
Lastly, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has received $1,386,950 to buy two Proterra electric transit buses and charging stations, which will be used by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. The project will also be funded through Charleston County sales taxes.
For all three projects, revenues from scrappage of buses will also be allocated toward the costs.
In June 2017, South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster designated the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) as the lead agency in determining how the state’s share of the Volkswagen Settlement Fund, totaling $34 million, should be invested. After a public comment period, the SCDOI selected these three recipients out of eight total applications for the first round.
“This is a good day for South Carolina and a good day for our team,” said McMaster on July 30, when the projects were announced (as seen below).