Phoenix, Arizona - Governor Doug Ducey announced funding for 67 new school buses, totaling $7.5 million, at 35 school districts and charter schools across Arizona. The latest round of funding constitutes the third and fourth wave of awards granted as part of a $38 million plan to provide low-income schools with new buses.
“These new buses will have a big impact across the state, especially in rural communities,” said Governor Ducey. “These funds will directly benefit low-income schools while helping ensure the safe transportation of our students to and from school. Arizona will continue to prioritize new investments in our K-12 public schools.”
In June of 2018, Governor Ducey released a $38 million plan to purchase an estimated 280 school buses utilizing settlement funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The plan provides funding for 60% free and reduced lunch school districts and charter schools as well as for the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind to replace buses with over 100,000 miles and older than 15 years. During a two-month application period in the fall of 2018, school administrators received four training opportunities, on-demand online training resources and a direct point of contact for technical assistance during the application process.
In the first wave of funding, $15.9 million was awarded to 55 districts and charter schools for the purchase of 142 diesel and alternative fuel school buses. The second wave of funding awarded 22 school districts 76 diesel and alternative fuel schools buses, totaling $8.4 million. With the third and fourth wave of funding, Arizona has approved 112 applications from school districts and charter schools, resulting in $31.8 million awarded for 285 buses.
BACKGROUND ON THE SETTLEMENT: In January of 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act by modifying its vehicles to cheat emissions tests. The suit resulted in a settlement agreement that requires Volkswagen to spend $10 billion to buy back vehicles or compensate vehicle owners and $4.7 billion to offset pollution from the modified cars. Arizona will receive $57 million over the next two years. The plan also includes funding other mission critical projects such as supporting wildland fire crews and equipment for the Arizona Department of Transportation.