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Realizing return on transportation investments
Realizing return on transportation investments
Posted on 10/26/2018

Transportation Department realizes return on investments made

In just three years, between August 2014 and August 2017 the Puyallup School District has reduced fuel purchases by 42.8 percent. Cutting gas bills nearly in half is just one return on the investment of new buses.

The district has purchased 111 buses since 2014 and has surplussed 88 old buses. Previously, the district carried 188 buses in the fleet – now there are 174 in inventory and 154 are on the depreciation scale.

The transportation department has worked since 2014 to significantly reduce costs by purchasing more efficient buses and eliminating buses that are fully depreciated. The goal has been to generate enough in bus depreciation revenue to make the bus fleet replacement self-sustainable. 

Bus investments since 2014 have generated almost $3 million in added depreciation revenue.

“Fiscal responsibility is critically important to our district. We have been able to plan this fleet sustainability project with existing funds without a transportation levy,” said Corine Pennington, chief financial officer. Asking voters to approve transportation levies are a common strategy for purchasing new school buses in Washington State.

According to Pennington, the district receives a return on the investment for new buses:bus graphic

·        Nearly 43 percent increase in fuel efficiency

·        90 percent reduction in fuel emissions

·        Funding from the state in depreciation revenue for each bus over a period of 9 to 13 years

With newer buses, the district has also moved toward having a more uniform fleet of buses that have the same engines and transmissions, as well as other interchangeable parts. By doing so, mechanics can specialize in a few, rather than many, types of buses and parts.

“In some cases, it was difficult to even repair some of the older buses in Puyallup’s fleet because parts were obsolete,” said Pennington. While older buses average five to six miles per gallon of gas, newer models get as much as 9 miles per gallon.

Careful management of the school district’s funds made it possible to purchase the new buses, said Superintendent Tim Yeomans.

The district helped offset the cost after being approved for a $90,000 Department of Ecology grant.

“A regular rotation of our bus fleet minimizes maintenance costs and maximizes student safety,” Yeomans said. “This is about being good stewards of the public’s money.”     

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