AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) is competing for two federal grants for alternative-fueled vehicles to help school districts statewide expand the number of propane-powered buses in their fleets over the next two years.
The TRC said its decision to compete for the grants was based on an enthusiastic response from school districts regarding propane-powered vehicles; the commission reported that districts have purchased more than 200 propane-powered buses in the past 18 months.
“Texas schools have researched the pros and cons of propane, and many are finding that it’s the most responsible option for their students and their taxpayers,” TRC Commissioner Michael Williams said. “While federal and state grants, rebates and tax credits have helped many schools manage the initial cost of the buses, other districts are in need of more assistance. The commission notified school districts that we were pursuing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the U.S. Department of Energy [DOE], and leaders from over 35 school systems responded that their districts wanted to buy more propane buses or try propane for the first time. Our two proposals include a total of 331 propane buses.”
The EPA grant application is part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. The TRC is requesting $4.2 million, with an equal match from school districts, to help the participating schools purchase 86 propane school buses. The total project is $8.5 million.
The DOE grant application is part of the Clean Cities FY '09 Petroleum Reduction Technologies Projects for the Transportation Sector solicitation, which received increased funding from the Recovery Act. The TRC’s application for this grant also includes light- and medium-duty propane vehicles that local governments and state agencies have requested.
TRC is requesting $12.6 million, with a match of $37.7 million from the grant participants, for the purchase of 245 propane school buses and 637 light- and medium-duty propane trucks, vans and cars. The total project is $50.4 million.