EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- The East Stroudsburg Area School Board gave its transportation department the green light to buy more than 20 new buses before the price goes up.
The cost increase comes as steel becomes more expensive due to the U.S. tariffs on foreign imports.
For the past two years, the district has been phasing out its diesel bus fleet for propane buses.
The plan was to buy 23 more buses next year, but as steel becomes more expensive, so does the cost of the buses.
District officials say buying those buses now will save taxpayers money in the long run.
The school board agreed to spend more than $2 million to buy more propane buses before the price goes up.
"We purchase our buses through our local dealer which is Brightbill and they notified us last week that the U.S. Government put tariffs on importing steel and they notified us that they can hold the price from last year to this year if we were to purchase the buses by September 15," explained Robert Sutjak, ESASD director of transportation.
The district bought 23 new propane school buses. This purchase will completely phase out the remaining diesel buses.
Right now, each propane bus costs more than $90,000.
Sutjak says if the district waited until next year as originally planned, it would cost an extra $2,100 for each bus.
"We went into this two years ago and started buying all propane buses and we want all the buses to be the same and if we didn't do it now, we don't know what would have happened with the price going up," Sutjak said.
Because school district officials decided to buy the buses before September 15, they will actually be saving about $50,000.
"The taxpayers will be happy that we are able to save them money. I mean Bluebird and Brightbill our dealer worked very hard to keep the number the same for us," said Sutjak.
The director of transportation says that even though the new propane school buses have been purchased, they won't be added to the fleet until next year.