Barbourville Independent to purchase first electric school bus

Barbourville Independent was approved for a $395,000 grant by The Environmental Protection Agency to purchase an electric school bus, Superintendent Messer announced on Tuesday.

With funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s new Clean School Bus Program will provide $5 billion to schools across the United States over the next five years in an effort to replace diesel-fueled buses with over 2,400 “clean” electric school buses.

The electric school buses are expected to offer zero-emission and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.

“The EPA is trying to get these old buses off the road for cleaner air, and this grant was a better opportunity than buying a regular diesel-fueled bus,” said Barbourville Independent Transportation Director Brian Carey. “I’m pretty sure we’re one of the first in the game to have an electric bus in the district.

Superintendent Messer announced he believes Barbourville Independent is one of the first in Southeast Kentucky to have an electric bus on campus.

In order to receive the grant, it was required for an older diesel bus to be destroyed and recycled, which the new electric bus will replace.

“This bus is 20 years old that we’re replacing,” he said. “It’s about lived it’s life and we’re getting the new bus from Thomas EV busses.”

Carey said he hopes this new electric bus decreases the cost of fuel that Barbourville Independent is currently using.

“Right now, to fill up a bus is about $300 and with ball games, especially with the teams we’ve got, the buses that we use in the Fall and Spring  it’s two or three busses gone a few times a week,” said Carey. “We’re having to fill those busses up, depending on where the ball game is, at least once every two weeks plus hauling kids to and from school.”

Next, Carey will go before the Barbourville Board of Education in November to get approval to buy the electric bus.

Then, the new electric bus should be delivered to Barbourville Independent by the Summer of 2023.

Samantha Walden, Staff Writer at The Kentucky Daily

Photo via Thomas Built Buses website

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