Bethlehem School District may start to transition to electric buses

Local

BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — You’ve heard of electric cars, but what about electric school buses? The Bethlehem School District could soon become one of the first districts in the state to start transitioning to a greener fleet — but it’s up to school budget voters on whether or not that becomes a reality. Voters will decide on three propositions.

“We are hoping that if we get NYSERDA funding, we will be able to purchase five electric school buses for the district,” explained Judi Kehoe, Chief Business and Financial Officer.

To pay for the buses, the district is hoping to receive up to $1 million in grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as well as state aid.

Since electric buses don’t run on diesel, the second bus proposition voters can choose is installing charging stations — given the grant money comes through for at least one bus. The cost for the infrastructure would not exceed $200,000, according to the district.

“The last proposition is to add some technological tools to our existing fleet of 132 busses, and that would be to add GPS and telematics devices to all of our buses, which is an efficiency for the district to track the metrics and statistics on operating the buses,” said Kehoe.

If voters approve the electric buses, the district could be using them as soon as this fall.

“We are very, very happy and ecstatic about the opportunity for these buses to be implemented in our fleet,” explained Karim Johnson, Director of Student Transportation.

The Bethlehem School Budget vote will be taking place on Tuesday at the Bethlehem Central High School from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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