Wood Lane lands $390,000 grant for 5 ‘greener’ buses

The Wood County Board of Development Disabilities is helping clean up the environment.
The board has purchased, through the help of a state grant, five propane-powered buses to replace the
same number of aging diesel buses in its fleet.
The "cleaner, greener" buses "have excellent emissions and very, very clean burning
technology," explained Scott McKeown, transportation coordinator for the county agency, which also
is commonly known as Wood Lane.
The agency will use the $390,600 grant, and contribute another $100,000 or so, to purchase the buses.
McKeown said he expects the total project cost to come in around $500,000.
"We’ll be paying for about 20 percent of the project cost," he stated.
The cost per propane bus is $100,000 to $105,000, he added. Adding a wheelchair lift, air conditioning,
and handicap accessibility is what makes the Wood Lane buses more expensive than the common yellow
school bus, which costs about $70,000.
"This will take care of our bus purchases for the next few years," McKeown said.
He originally had been looking for grants to retrofit some of the agency’s older buses to make the
exhaust cleaner. But this Diesel Emissions Reduction grant was "a good opportunity to do some
equipment replacement other than just doing some add-ons."
The grants became available through state budget bill H.B. 562, which earmarked $19.8 million over two
years of Ohio Department of Transportation’s federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds to
reduce diesel emissions.
ODOT worked with the Ohio Department of Development and state Environmental Protection Agency to develop
this second round of the program, which awarded 16 grants this spring.
Wood County Engineer’s Office also is using a grant to replace two diesel-powered dump trucks with new
The most noticeable difference between the diesel and propane buses is the smell of the exhaust, McKeown
explained. The new buses will have significantly lower emissions of particulate matter. Soot output will
be reduced by 100 percent. "It basically doesn’t exist with the propane-powered vehicles."
Also, the output of oxides of nitrogen is reduced 95 percent.
Both the particulate matter and oxides are contributors to smog as well as summer ozone warnings.
"This will be a big help, we feel, for our passengers, many of whom have to load using the
wheelchair lift" which is at the rear of the bus near the exhaust pipe, McKeown stated.
He said he hopes to have the new buses on the road in mid-fall or early winter. Wood Lane is working with
ODOT’s District 2 office in Bowling Green on the bidding process.
Each bus will be able to transport up to seven students using wheelchairs, and another 18 seated
Wood Lane has 13 buses in its fleet, each which run approximately 1,100 miles a day. "As you know,
we cover the entire county so it’s a pretty big area," McKeown said. Students and adult consumers
are provided transportation to both Wood Lane School and Industries on East Gypsy Lane Road.
The diesel buses being replaced – each 8 to 10 years old – will be taken out of service, with proof
provided to the state granting department. They will be disabled, with the engine block drilled out and
the body of the bus scrapped. "We will get scrap value for them," McKeown said. "They
don’t want that (bus) out burning diesel any where."