Grant helps school get new bus

RANDOLPH — Randolph was one of several schools awarded state funds from Nebraska’s share of the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Mitigation Trust for State Beneficiaries.

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (formerly NDEQ) issued the funds to purchase new buses that meet current standards for emissions, replacing older buses that create more pollution.

Schools selected this year will utilize unused portions of the VW funds plus $1.3 million from additional Trusts.

Randolph Public Schools was awarded approx. $55,000 to purchase a new propane powered, 53-passenger route bus.

The new bus has been in service since January of 2020 and cost approx. $91,000.

As part of the grant requirements, the old diesel bus it is replacing has to be scrapped according to stringent requirements of the grant including cutting a 3” hole in the engine block and cutting the chassis rails in half.

Prior to the demolition, the old bus was used by the Randolph Volunteer Fire Department in an extraction and rescue exercise.

The old bus has been actively in service at Randolph since 1998 and had 211,000 miles on it.

“This is the second time we’ve been awarded this grant from the NDEE. The first grant was used in 2016 to purchase a diesel route bus,” Supt. Hoesing said. “This is our first attempt at trying a propane bus on the route. The grant funds for this type of bus (vs a new diesel) were more than 2 ½ times greater than purchasing a new diesel bus.

The NDEE is encouraged by propane powered vehicles as the emissions for a propane bus and the cost of operation are significantly lower than for a diesel.

There are also rebates on propane fuel that we are taking advantage of, Hoesing said.

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