Gov. Henry McMaster wants state to spend VW-EPA settlement money - - Columbia, South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster wants state to spend VW-EPA settlement money to buy school buses

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is giving his blessing to state Superintendent Molly Spearman to apply for funds to purchase buses coming from a settlement involving Volkswagen's litigation over emissions standards. 

The state is set to receive over $33 million following the $2.9 billion settlement between the German automaker and the United States after the Environmental Protection Agency discovered the company had been cheating emissions standards. 

That money, according to the governor, should be used to help replace aging buses in the state's school bus fleet instead of $20 million worth of state Education Lottery dollars vetoed by McMaster in the 2017 budget.

"Replacing our school bus fleet through the Volkswagen settlement money would benefit air quality across South Carolina and would leave lottery dollars for the purposes intended by the people of this state," McMaster said in a letter to Spearman.

Despite the sum of money, Spearman has said that it would cost the state $34 million a year to replace the aging fleet.

"We need the legislature to understand that we need a recurring line-item for bus replacement,” Spearman said recently. “The State of South Carolina's growing and the $34 million, really, just meets the replacement for where we are now."

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