The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded more than $8.7 million to replace or retrofit 452 older diesel school buses. The funds are going to 141 school bus fleets in 32 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. In New Jersey, rebates are going towards replacement or retrofitting of 27 buses in Iselin, Toms River, Bayonne and Tabernacle. The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.
“These rebates are an innovative way to improve air quality across the country and provide kids with safe, reliable transportation to and from school,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, EPA is equipping local school districts with cleaner-running school buses, helping them along the route to healthier kids and communities.”
“Since the EPA launched its Clean School Bus USA program 15 years ago, the agency has been working to ensure that the safest way 26 million students get to school, the iconic yellow school bus, is also one of the healthiest,” said Charlie Hood, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. “The DERA School Bus Replacement program has been instrumental in helping school districts and contractors replace older diesel school buses with newer buses that drastically reduce airborne emissions. The program is one of the most administratively simple within the federal government and has been extremely cost-effective at achieving its intended goals. America’s students and taxpayers are the beneficiaries.”
“The National School Transportation Association (NSTA), and private school bus contractors around the country, congratulates EPA and those receiving rebate awards for the purchase of new clean vehicles and equipment,” said NSTA President Blake Krapf. “On behalf of private school bus companies serving school districts around the country, we have strongly supported the DERA program. It is another way we can provide the safest and cleanest form of transportation for our precious cargo of school children and for the communities in which they live.”
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000 per bus, depending on the size of the bus. Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years between 1994 to 2006 with a
Diesel Oxidation Catalyst, Closed Crankcase Ventilation system, and Fuel Operated Heater to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $6,000.
EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems.
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