(File photo)

(File photo)

District gets new clean-burning buses

The district will have to destroy the old buses.

Seven new clean-burning buses will make their way to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, courtesy of a 2016 lawsuit filed against Volkswagen.

To get students to and from school, the district contracts with the company Apple Bus. However, the district owns several of its own buses to be used for activities. Most of those vehicles are about 20 years old.

“With an aging fleet and a lack of funds to replace it, these buses could not have come to the District at a better time,” the background information for the Jan. 13 school board work session agenda said.

In 2016, the U.S. and California sued Volkswagen, alleging that since 2009, the company had manufactured diesel cars sold and operated in America with emission control systems intended to defeat emissions tests. These systems allowed vehicles to emit nitrogen oxide pollution at levels far exceeding the legal limit under the Clean Air Act. As a result of the lawsuit, Volkswagen agreed to spend $14.7 billion to settle, with $10 billion of the settlement designated to buy back diesel vehicles from consumers. Alaska received a portion of that settlement and developed a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, which allowed organizations like the district to apply for a grant.

The Alaska Energy Authority, a state organization focused on reducing energy costs in Alaska, received about $8.13 million as a result of the federal settlement. About 60% of those funds are being used for school bus replacements across Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Anchorage School District, Alaska Gateway School District, Juneau School District and Southeast Island School District are all beneficiaries of the Volkswagen Settlement School Bus Replacement Program.

“By replacing older engines with new technologies, the school buses will help improve air quality in these areas of the state,” said AEA Executive Director Curtis W. Thayer in a news release. “The new buses will result in a reduction of 24.6 short tons of NOx and 1.8 short tons of fine particulate matter over the remaining lifetimes of the replaced school buses.”

The district’s transportation supervisor, Rachelle Goniotakis, researched the grants and submitted an application for seven new clean-burning activity buses.

The district was awarded a total of seven new activity buses, with each bus valued at $145,000. Through the grants the district applied for, the district was awarded six buses. However, one additional bus was awarded at the last minute as a result of low applications in other grant categories.

“So they came back to us and asked if we would like another bus,” Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said in a Jan. 13 work session. “So we’re actually going to get seven buses.”

As part of the deal to get the new replacement buses, the district will have to destroy the old buses.

“They have to be scrapped,” Goniotakis said in the work session. “We can’t put these back on the road.”

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
2 men missing after plane crash reported near Moose Pass

A pair of hikers witnessed and reported the crash around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, trooper say

Alaska Department of Transportation Commissioner Ryan Anderson speaks during a town hall meeting on the use of brine on Kenai Peninsula roads, in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, June 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Brine use reduced by 69% this winter, further changes possible

Department of Transportation holds town hall to report back on winter brine use, collect feedback

Sockeye salmon are gathered together at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Commercial fishing with dipnets to see 1st opening Thursday

Commercial fishing with dipnets will be allowed for their first opening on… Continue reading

A seal pup rescued from the Kenai Beach is in the care of the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program in Seward, Alaska, on June 6, 2024. (Photo provided by Alaska SeaLife Center)
2nd seal pup rescued in Kenai, ASLC now caring for 4

A second newborn seal was rescued on Kenai Beach and admitted by… Continue reading

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, right, slices and serves fresh watermelon during North Peninsula Recreation Service Area’s Family Fun in the Midnight Sun at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center in Nikiski, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
North Peninsula Rec holds annual summer celebration

Attractions at this year’s event included carnival games, food trucks, field games, face painting, live music and demonstrations

The Blood Bank of Alaska’s new Kenai Peninsula center is seen in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, June 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Blood Bank relaunches permanent center on Kenai Peninsula

The new location joins others in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Wasilla

Nathan Nelson directs a kite flying dozens of feet up in the sky above Millennium Square in Kenai, Alaska, during the Kenai Kite Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sun, wind, friends and kites

Kiters both experienced and novice gather for Kenai festival

Marchers walk from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park as part of Soldotna Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Pride in the Park, other Pride celebrations set for Saturday

The event starts with the Two-Spirit March, which meets at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex at 11:30 a.m.

Signs direct visitors at Seward City Hall on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward OKs around $362,000 in purchases for Electric Department material

A pair of resolutions were included and passed within the consent agenda

Most Read