Fairfax moves ahead with a new school bus plan

Multiple school counties are debating about replacing diesel buses with electric ones (/image)

Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu | May 5th, 2018

In Fairfax County, Virginia, schoolbuses are getting revamped.

The distinctive yellow buses all mostly run on diesel, but with some redoubled efforts, that may soon change.

Schoolbuses are actually far better for the environment than driving cars–the amount of CO2 emitted from a schoolbuses is significantly lower than the CO2 emitted from cars driving kids to school individually. Still, many people, concerned about the negative health effects of diesel, are urging school counties to replace their diesel buses with electric or natural gas varieties. Diesel exhaust, according to OSHA, can be extremely hazardous when inhaled over a long period of time–especially for children, whose lungs are typically still developing.

The assistant superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools Transportation and Facilities, Jeff Platenberg, has long been considering purchasing electric schoolbuses for the next replacement fleet. Electric buses are more expensive up front, but recent models have been getting cheaper.

A report on this topic from the United States Public Research Group suggests multiple sources of alternative funding to help with the initial purchase, including allocating funds from the Volkswagon’s “Dieselgate” settlement.

Still, the change will be slow, as school counties search for the funding necessary to change over to this new form of transportation.

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