FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 will receive two liquid propane-powered school buses thanks to a multi-state $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagon.

The Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust was formed to settle charges that the company intentionally designed 2- and 3-liter diesel passenger car engines to cheat on emissions tests while violating emission standards during normal operation.

Maine received $21 million of the settlement which was earmarked for enhancing the use of zero-emission vehicles and provide grant funding for vehicle replacement, engine upgrades and facility improvements to reduce nitrogen oxide, or NOx, emissions.

Of that, the state set aside $3 million to grant to public agencies and private companies so they could replace old diesel engines with cleaner-running versions.

“We just received notice of the award,” Jonathan Chalmers, former director of Support Services, told RSU 9 directors Tuesday, Jan. 28. It will take some time before the funding is released and the buses are delivered, he added.

Chalmers’ last day with the district was Feb. 7 but he is expected to work several days in transition and return in March to present the department budget.

The district was awarded $138,400 to replace two older model diesel engine buses. A 20% match will be required from the district.

Transportation Specialist Richard Joseph said the district has been using propane buses since 2014. Of the 31 buses currently in the fleet, nine are fueled by propane, he added.


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