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Development & Transportation

Pennsylvania gives a McKeesport company money to convert buses to cleaner fuel

Truck Fire Investigation
Matt Rourke
In this March 31, 2021 file photo, motor vehicle traffic moves along the Interstate 76 highway in Philadelphia.

More than a dozen Pittsburgh-area school buses will soon run on cleaner, diesel fuel. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has awarded Pennsylvania Coach Lines in McKeesport more than $800,000 in state grant money to upgrade the vehicles.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection awarded $3 million in grants to five counties across the state through the Driving PA Forward Grant Program.

The funding comes from a 2016 settlement with Volkswagen. The company installed devices in various models of their vehicles to make their emissions system appear compliant with regulations, although they emitted between nine and 40 times the permitted amount of nitrogen oxide.

As part of the settlement, Volkswagen was tasked with funding emissions-reduction projects of all affected states, including Pennsylvania, and Native American tribes.

Pennsylvania has been putting its cut of the money into communities with a history of poor air quality.

Mike Trone, air quality program specialist at the DEP, said so far, the agency has funded 873 diesel emissions reduction projects for more than $54 million. “And that number also includes the installation of over 1,200 electric vehicle charging ports,” he said.

The Driving PA Forward fund still has more than $64 million remaining. Applications to apply to its related programs can be found on the Driving PA Forward Grant Program website.