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Jason Kamras, Environment Virginia Announce Possible Electric School Buses in Richmond

Dominion plans on receiving the first group of electric buses by the end of 2020.
Dominion plans on receiving the first group of electric buses by the end of 2020. (Photo: Dominion Energy)

*VPM intern Malcolm Key reported this story.

Richmond Public Schools could be getting electric buses in the near future. The district’s superintendent Jason Kamras made the announcement this week while visiting Chimborazo Elementary School. Kamras was ending a five-day visit of various Richmond City schools, including Westover Hills Elementary and the Franklin Military Institute.

Kamras said Dominion Energy will be subsidizing the purchase of the electric school buses, and Richmond Public Schools has submitted an application and has high hopes in obtaining them.

“We hope to be one of the first recipients of the electric buses in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Kamras.

Joe Rupp, a climate advocate for Environment Virginia, commended the school district for making efforts to improve their environmental footprint.

“One of the things RPS has proven, is that you can prepare our kids for the future, and also protect the future for our children by doing the same things,” said Rupp.

According to Rupp, the electric bus system will be a superior alternative to diesel fuel buses, which are 95% of the buses we see on the roads currently. Rupp says the exhaust coming from the tailpipes of these diesel-fueled buses is identified as a carcinogen, a cancer-causing substance, and is linked to respiratory issues such as asthma.

The electric buses will have a variety of benefits, from public health and environmental to financial, according to Rupp.

“With the electric school buses, they’re able to provide a healthier environment, cleaner air for kids to breathe on their way to and from school, and they’re also able to curb the impact that they’re having on climate change.” Rupp said. “ ...There’s also potential cost savings too that can be a real benefit to the school district.”

Dominion aims to have 50 buses by the end of 2020, and to have all diesel-fueled buses replaced with electric buses by 2030.