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Livingston Parish still in need of new buses after 2016 flood

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LIVINGSTON PARISH - It's been a long and expensive road to recovery for the Livingston Parish School District. The district purchased 57 new buses last year after more than 60 were lost to flood damage in 2016.

Thursday night, the Transportation Department approved a proposal to buy a dozen more buses to be put to use by March. It's the last move the department hopes that will finally get them back on their feet.

“We had [buses] that had up to 7 feet [of water] in them,” said Transportation Supervisor for the Livingston Parish School District, Jeff Frizell. “Some that got just above where it messed up the mechanical and electrical part."

The flood in 2016 ruined nearly a fourth of the district's school bus fleet.

“We're rambling around the state trying to find buses,” said Frizell.

At a price of $1.8 million, the district had already replaced the majority of the buses lost. But, as of Thursday afternoon, they were still five short.

“The approval that we're looking for would help finish off the buses we lost to the flood, and add additional buses when our fleet ages out,” explained Frizell.

The buses the department won't be purchased at full price. They'll cost the district $27,000 off the $75,000 price. Thanks to a grant, one bus would cost $49,000. With purchasing 10 regular buses and two buses for kids with disabilities, the district would be paying more than a half a million dollars.

“It has cost our parish money,” said Frizell.

But it’s money he says is necessary to replace what the flood washed away.

“To have new and safe buses on the road, and to replace our old buses is very important,” said Frizell.

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