Wirt County Schools received electric bus through EPA grant

Wirt County Schools received electric bus through EPA grant
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:25 PM EDT
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ELIZABETH, W.Va. (WTAP) - The Wirt County School District received the first electric school bus in the state through a United States Environmental Protection Agency grant.

The EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program in 2022 allowed for Wirt County School District and two other school districts in W. Va. to receive funding for electric school buses.

The EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz shares the main reason for the grant.

“Basically, it tries to get clean buses into school districts because with children, as we know, Asthma and other respiratory illnesses are increasing and this is a way to keep it down and also make a more pleasant ride for our bus drivers,” said Ortiz.

The Wirt County School District Superintendent John McKown sees more benefits in the new bus for the students.

“Well, I think just exposing students to that new technology. It will be different because, while it looks like the Thomas Buses that we have in our fleet, it doesn’t make much noise coming down the road. It will be a quieter ride for the students and the bus driver on that bus,” said McKown.

Once they received the grant money, the district worked with Matheny Motors to purchase the electric school bus.

Matheny Motors President, Tim Matheny, is excited to help benefit the students through the new school bus.

“Well like they said, they do run clean when they’re running. The school bus is the perfect vehicle for electric because it has a set route everyday, it’s back in the middle of the day and in the evening; so it’s always charged. Also, it will be a clean environment for the kids,” said Matheny.

Superintendent McKown is confident that the bus will be beneficial.

“We do have hills and various conditions here to be a challenge to any bus but we have taken it for a test drive up the hill and around, and I think it is going to meet the needs that we have,” said McKown.