Three Texas school districts — Alvin Independent School District (ISD), Angleton ISD and Lindale ISD — are adding Blue Bird Corp. Propane-Powered Vision school buses to their fleets for the upcoming school year.
Alvin and Angleton ISD received $290,680 in grants and cash reimbursements for their purchases from the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) and Blue Bird school bus distributor Rush Enterprises, while Lindale ISD received $61,890 in grants and cash reimbursements.
Alvin and Angleton have purchased 23 propane-powered buses; Lindale has purchased three. Bryan Mendez, Lindale ISD’s transportation director, learned about the benefits of the alternative fuel when he attended a Breathe Easy Propane School Bus workshop hosted by TRC Commissioner Michael Williams last year.
Williams said propane-powered school buses reduce emissions and are a great value for taxpayers through lower fuel and operating costs. They also qualify for federal alternative motor vehicle and alternative fuel tax credits.
Moreover, because Alvin and Angleton ISD are located in Brazoria County, and Lindale ISD is located in Smith County, the buses are eligible for state grants from TRC’s Propane Equipment Initiative.
The initiative is funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Emission Reduction Plan fund that aims to reduce emissions in air quality non-attainment and near non-attainment counties.
“Alvin ISD is receiving $129,680 from the TRC’s Propane Equipment Initiative,” Williams said, “and Rush Enterprises is issuing Alvin and Angleton a reimbursement of $7,000 per bus through the federal Alternative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit, which adds up to $161,000 for the 23 buses.”
Williams noted that the 50 cents per gallon federal tax credit brings Lindale ISD’s cost per gallon for propane to $1.01, compared to $1.73 for diesel.
“On top of that, Lindale ISD is receiving an estimated $40,890 from the TRC’s Propane Equipment Initiative,” Williams said. He added that Lindale's reimbursement through the tax credit adds up to $21,000 for the three buses.