Friday, May 24, 2024

Electric bus charging station OK'd

by TRACY SCOTT Valley Press
| April 3, 2024 12:00 AM

During the Monday evening Thompson Falls Zoning Committee meeting, Mosher Transportation owner John Mosher requested a zoning variance for a proposed electric bus charging station on his current school bus barn location.

Mosher Transportation is in the process of applying for grant money to acquire 11 electric school buses. Completing the grant application requires that all federal, state and local regulations be in compliance. 

The Zoning Committee gave Mosher a conditional variance to proceed with their grant application, but have not voted on the final variance approval. 

Mosher showed his frustration with the amount of time it has taken to get the variance approved by the council. 

“We need to get this done," he said. "If you want me to hang the electric buses on you guys, we will drop out. Two weeks (longer) will do us out of it.”  

The grant requires the charging stations to be installed by July of this year to proceed. 

Mosher commented that if the company doesn't take the buses on a certain date they could be given to another applicant. He noted that Plains, Stevensville and Florence will each receive electric busses.

"We have been first every time getting our stuff in and now, all-of-a-sudden we’re sitting here and can’t turn it in because we don’t have an OK,” he said. 

He continued, “They (zoning committee) are ready to work with us. I let my frustrations get a little away with me.”

The grant requires that 11 diesel buses be removed from the bus fleet. The electric buses will be used exclusively for local runs.

Council members suggested an on-site inspection of the proposed charging station location after a mandatory 48-hour public notification period. A zoning council site inspection, at 425 Washington Street, took place March 28.

After Thursday evening’s site inspection, the Zoning Committee authorized a zoning variance to build an electric charging station for the new school buses. Mosher said he will be making an additional request in the future, with the Zoning Committee for construction of a new bus barn.

    Zoning board member Mark Sheets discusses a variance request from Mosher Transportation. (Tracy Scott/Valley Press)