School Bus Fleet

September 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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28 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4 E arlier this summer, a Nation- al Climate Assessment report identifed Miami as the most vulnerable city on the globe when it comes to climate change im- pacts. Rising sea levels threaten homes and roads, and recent fooding in the state has put Florida at the center of the climate change debate. Furthermore, a greenhouse gas emis- sions report from the Southeast Florida Climate Compact shows that harmful emissions from the transportation sec- tor far and away are the greatest con- tributor of emissions in the state, more than those from residential, commer- cial or industrial sectors. However, despite Florida's current state of environmental affairs, posi- tive action has been taken to cut the carbon footprint in the region. New al- ternative-fuel legislation has attracted the interest of public and private sec- tor businesses, spurring them to de- ploy alternatives to fossil fuels. And lo- cal school transportation directors, in particular, have led the charge, invest- ing in propane autogas and new school bus technologies as an economical and environmental solution. State funding, incentives Last year, Florida became one of 22 states to adopt a rebate program for the purchase of alternative-fuel ve- hicles. The Natural Gas and Propane Fuel Fleet Vehicle Program, which is operated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, covers 50% of the incremental cost of a converted or dedicated propane auto- gas vehicle, and both private and pub- lic entities, such as school districts, are encouraged to apply. This legislation has had a huge im- pact on schools looking to reduce short-term costs on new equipment. Putnam County School District was the frst in the state to apply for fund- ing assistance through the program for its three propane autogas buses. Additionally, Broward County, one of the largest school districts in the na- tion, reported utilizing the alternative- fuel program to partially cover costs on its adoption of 98 propane autogas With reduced operating costs and a rebate program for propane autogas vehicles, Florida school districts are tapping the alternative fuel as an economical and environmental solution. Broward County recently added 98 propane school buses to its feet. BY MICHAEL TAYLOR school buses in April, and is also ex- empt from fuel taxes through the pro- gram. "We'll be using these buses for our high-mileage routes due to the sub- stantial cost and maintenance savings with clean and safe propane autogas," says Pat Snell, director of student trans- portation and feet services for Bro- ward County Public Schools. "Some of the savings will be funneled directly back into the classroom." In total, recent adoptions by Bro- ward County, the School District of Indian River County, Putnam County School District, Alachua County Public Schools and Pasco School District have catapulted Florida to one of the top 10 states in the country leading propane autogas school bus deployments, ac- cording to research from the Propane Education & Research Council. "Contractors and school districts across North America have been re- porting terrifc fuel and maintenance savings with our propane buses," says Trey Jenkins, Blue Bird's vice president of alternative fuels. "Given State Funding, Fuel Savings Drive Propane Bus Adoption in Florida

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