By Dave Ongie, News Editor
Thanks in part to a $102,500 grant, Washington County Schools was able to obtain five new propane powered school buses that will be added to the fleet. The buses were unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Jonesborough last Wednesday afternoon.
During the ceremony, Dr. Bill Flanary, director of Washington County Schools, noted that it took a year and a half of work in order to secure the buses. He added that out of the 118 propane-powered buses in the state of Tennessee, five of them now operate in Washington County.
“This is part of our overall plan to both reduce operating costs in Washington County Schools and reduce our carbon footprint,” Flanary said.
The savings created by the propane buses come largely due to the fact they require less maintenance than traditional diesel buses. Flanary said there are over $20,000 worth of parts in a diesel bus that are not required to run a propane-powered bus.
“Those are parts we will not have to repair or replace over the 16-year life of these buses,” Flanary said. “We’ll start saving money almost immediately.”
Through the hard work of Washington County Schools grant writer Twana McKinney, the system was able to receive a six-figure grant through Tennessee’s “Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee” program. The money allocated to Washington County came from state EPA funds the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) oversees.