Fairfield County has the worst air quality in Connecticut -- one reason state agencies have pushed many possibilities for reducing emissions locally, according to Westport Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Nancy Harris.
Westport Public Schools received a $63,584 grant from the Connecticut Clean Fuel program to operate a hybrid diesel electric school bus, which will end up costing the town nothing after being reimbursed. Dattco, Westport’s transportation provider, has agreed to pay the remaining $82,347 over the course of two annual lease payments in addition to covering all insurance and maintenance costs on the ultra-low sulfur diesel hybrid.
Dattco will receive the title of the bus after two years of use in exchange for $452.90, the estimated interest on the cost of capital initially invested, Harris said.
RTM District 9 member Velma Heller said she fully supported the idea of Westport having a clean energy bus, which will come to town as part of a federal congestion mitigation air quality initiative funneled through the state of Connecticut Department of Transportation.
“This is the kind of thing we should be doing in terms of the future. It’s the way we should be thinking about energy and about costs overall,” Heller said, adding she was pleased how it worked out for the town financially.
RTM member Dewey Loselle III, of District 5, wondered if Westport planned on buying ‘busses that are double the cost every year.’
Westport Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Elliot Landon does not expect that will be the case, but maintains that Westport Public Schools are committed to being as green and environmentally friendly as possible.
“If we can determine that the long term cost more than offsets the increase of more expensive equipment which is environmentally friendly, we will certainly make that commitment while being fiscally responsible and very cognizant of our need to keep expenses low,” Landon said.