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South Carolina Uses Volkswagen Emissions Settlement for New School Buses

Henry McMaster Molly Spearman South Carolina Buses-Settlement
Jeffrey Collins/AP
South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, right, and Gov. Henry McMaster, left, announce the state will spend $24 million in a legal settlement on both school buses and regular buses that don't run on diesel fuel during a news conference on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. The money came from a settlement with Volkswagen over emission testing. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins).

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina is spending $24 million from a legal settlement over emissions with Volkswagen on more than 200 new buses that run on propane.

The new buses will put the state on the edge of meeting a more than decade-long goal of getting school buses on cycle to be replaced every 15 years, state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said at a Tuesday news conference.

South Carolina buys and maintains more than 5,000 school buses for all its public school districts. Once the new buses arrive, the state will have less than 270 that are more than 15 years old and most of those are used for spare parts or as back up if a newer bus breaks down, Spearman said.

The superintendent said she wants the General Assembly to continue to set aside the $35 million needed each year to keep the 15-year replacement cycle going.

The districts getting the new buses are Aiken, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester 2, Greenville, Horry, Lexington 1, Richland 1, Richland 2 and York 4.

The money will also pay for an electric bus for the Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority and two electric buses for the Pee Dee Transportation Authority.

The $24 million is part of $34 million Volkswagen was ordered to pay South Carolina as part of a settlement with states over false emissions data.