Free TriCounty Link rides Friday

At the crack of dawn, passengers board a large TriCounty Link bus at the Heritage Shopping Center on the way to North Charleston.

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments received $1.4 million on Tuesday July 30th.

The money was a part of South Carolina’s share of the Volkswagen Settlement Fund. There was a total of $34 million awarded to the state from the settlement.

The BCDCOG plans to use the money to purchase 2 Proterra electric transit buses and charging stations.

In June of 2017, Gov. McMaster designated the South Carolina Department of Insurance as the lead agency to see how the money could best be invested. The SCDOI received 8 applications from around the state. The applicants had to develop a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan and also explain how the funds would be used reduce emissions in the state.

The BCDCOG was one of three applicants chosen to receive funds from the grant.

The CARTA expressed gratitude for the grant and said that this is a step in the right direction.

“This is another win for public transit in the Lowcountry,” said CARTA Board of Directors Chairman Mike Seekings. “Clean energy public transportation is vital to our region’s future and the arrival of these environmentally-friendly vehicles will mark another step forward in the ongoing modernization of our fleet and services.”

The BCDCOG received $1,386,950 from the grant. The purchase of the two buses and power stations will have a total cost of $1.7 million. Twenty percent of the cost will be covered by the Charleston County half-cent sales tax. Further revenue will come from the scrappage of discarded vehicles.

The other two organizations awarded funds were the Department of Education, which will be purchasing 78 Thomas Built propane buses, and the City of Anderson who will purchase a natural gas transit buses.