School Bus

(Des Moines) — The Iowa Department of Transportation is handing out $4.6 million dollars to help transit fleets replace buses as part of the Volkswagen settlement for the company’s 2015 Clean Air Act violations.

The largest amount of money will partially fund 107 new school buses in 44 districts across the state. Half of these buses will use a propane engine. D-O-T grant manager, Zac Bitting says propane fuel generates less pollution than diesel.

“Which is the main component of this Volkswagen settlement program is to try to reduce the amount of vehicle and engines that are currently out on the road and to replace them with engines and vehicles that will reduce the nitrogen oxide,” Bitting says.

School districts will receive their money this year and they have two years to spend it. This is the first of three grant cycles — with the next one in 2020 trying to make chargers more available for electric vehicles.

“The focus of the program will be to minimize the mileage gaps along the Interstates,” according to Bitting, “we’ll be trying to outfit the charging infrastructure within 50 to 100 miles of each other.”

All 50 states are participating in similar vehicle pollution reduction programs funded by the Volkswagen settlement.