SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A school district here is set to receive Volkswagen (VW) settlement funding for an all-electric school bus pilot project.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and John J. Kim, the director for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced on Friday that Triad Community Unit School District (CUSD) #2 in Troy will be awarded a $650,000 grant for the purchase of three electric school buses and charging infrastructure, according to a news release from the Illinois EPA.

The grant award is funded by the state’s $108 million share of VW settlement funds, provided through the Illinois EPA’s Driving a Cleaner Illinois program, according to the agency. The program is designed to improve air quality in the state primarily by replacing aging diesel engines.

"We are pleased this funding will be used to incorporate zero-emission transportation for the Triad Community Unit School District, improving air quality for the district's students and surrounding community," Kim said. "This award furthers our goal of utilizing the Volkswagen funds to generate environmental and public health benefits for the areas of Illinois most affected by mobile source emissions."

Leigh Lewis, the superintendent for Triad CUSD #2, added that the district is thrilled about the potential educational and community benefits that will be developed as a result of the pilot.

“It is inspiring to think that in the future Triad students will be able to share that they were the first to ride an all-electric bus to school,” Lewis said. “These funds will definitely allow our district to move progressively forward in providing more environmentally-friendly student transportation to and from our schools.”

Ameren Illinois, a local energy and power company, will support the district during the pilot, according to Richard J. Mark, the company’s chairman and president.

Illinois announced its first round of VW funding in Dec. 2018, including funding for an all-electric school bus pilot in Cook County, according to the Illinois EPA. The second wave of funding was announced in April to help replace some of the state’s existing diesel school buses with new electric buses, particularly in Madison and St. Clair counties.

For more information about Illinois EPA’s Driving a Cleaner Illinois program and the state’s VW funds, go here.

View a photo of one of the electric buses, posted on Triad CUSD's #2 Facebook page, below.

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