By DANIELLE LYNCH firstname.lastname@example.org @dmlreporter
State officials have awarded the Rose Tree Media School District a $499,994 Natural Gas Vehicle Development Program grant which will go toward an upgrade of the district’s school bus fleet.
The grant is being administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as part of Act 13 known as the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation. Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed Act 13 into law last year which authorized impact fees for natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
Rose Tree Media School District Superintendent James Wigo Sr. said the district is thrilled it is the first district in Delaware County to move in this direction with its buses. Wigo said the district is excited about receiving the funds not only because of the dollar savings associated with it but also because it will help the environment. Wigo said the district has initiated other environmentally friendly projects in the past.
“This allows us to make a significant impact and we believe very strongly in our civic responsibility to do all we can to clean up the environment,” Wigo said.
The school district has plans to use the funds to upgrade the district’s school bus fleet to natural gas vehicles, convert 14 existing diesel buses to compressed natural gas and begin the process of purchasing eight new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) built buses.
The fuel capacity will be supported by a new hybrid fueling station that will be owned and operated by the district, according to district officials. Johnson Controls will serve as the design/build contractor for the construction of the fueling station and program manager of the overall CNG transition plan, according to district officials.
The overall project cost is estimated to be $4.8 million and will begin this summer and should be completed by fall 2014. Wigo said he believes the district is well positioned to receive a similar $500,000 grant next year and the following year through this state program.
The Rose Tree Media School District was one of 18 companies and organizations that received these grants for making the switch to natural gas for their heavy-duty fleet vehicles. A total of $6.7 million was awarded across the state as part of the three-year $20 million Natural Gas Vehicle Development Program.