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Hybrid School Bus To Join New Canaan Fleet

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Students in New Canaan will soon get to school aboard a bus that’s better for the environment.

After discussing the idea for two meetings, the Town Council voted 8-2 during a special meeting Thursday to approve a special appropriation of more than $145,000 to buy a hybrid diesel/electric school bus . As part of the purchase, the town is expected to receive a $63,000 grant from the 2011 Connecticut Clean Fuel Program to cover the hybrid cost of the bus.

Under the agreement, the town will pay for the bus and then lease it to Dattco, the bus contractor, for two years for more than $82,000 while maintaining and using the bus. After the term is up, New Canaan will sell the bus to Dattco for $452.

District Transportation Coordinator Roy Walder said the project will not cost the town anything. He said it’s worth exploring to determine whether more hybrid buses should be purchased.

Town Council Chairman Mark DeWaele had concerns about giving up something of value for a small final sale cost but said it was worth exploring “the art of the possible.” Beth Jones was the most enthusiastic of the councilors. “I hope in the future that we have a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles,” she said.

Councilors John Emert and Paul Foley cast the no votes. Foley said the project was a waste of money and he would rather the town explore use of natural gas in buses. Emert was worried about approving a special appropriation so early in the fiscal year, especially with the town possibly facing costs from cleaning up after Hurricane Irene.

What do you think of the New Canaan Schools’ plan to add a hybrid bus to the current fleet? Get involved in the conversation by leaving your comment below. You can also visit our Facebook page.

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