Transportation cooperative saves taxpayer dollars

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It’s been my privilege to direct the Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative since we opened for business three years ago. The cooperative saves taxpayers’ money, improves school bus safety and extends school bus life.

This partnership offers member school districts — Walla Walla. Prescott and Dixie school districts — discounted school bus maintenance and repair service. We also provide school bus inspection support, bus driver professional development, school bus preventative maintenance and record keeping services.

We now have data to show how taxpayers are reaping the benefits of this cooperative. Our shop rates for partner districts are $45 per hour. The average vendor shop rate is $90 to $105 per hour. We buy our diesel fuel in bulk at nearly 20 cents less per gallon than retail. This saves taxpayers on average nearly $10,000 per year in fuel costs.

We use a variety of oil filters and our costs average 60 to 80 percent below retail prices. We see the same range of savings for fuel and air filters. We purchase coolant for 90 percent below retail costs. These numbers add up quickly.

We appreciate the support from the community for this cooperative, especially in a time of economic uncertainty. This project was built with state matching dollars and helped stimulate the local economy as more than 11 local construction firms were employed as subcontractors.

Our kids are safer and our operations are more efficient as a result of this cooperative. We are located at 1162 Entley St., across the street from Koncrete Industries. We welcome you to stop by to tour the facility and see how your community investment is paying off.

Steve Olson

Walla Walla Public Schools

director of transportation

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