Schools get EPA bus rebate: $100,000 will help pay for five new buses
Published 3:05 pm Friday, January 6, 2017
The Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) division will get a $100,000 break on five buses it is replacing thanks to an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA announced Thursday it is awarding more than $7.7 million across the country to replace or retrofit more than 400 older diesel school buses. The new or retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems, such as asthma and lung damage, according to an EPA press release.
CCPS Division Superintendent Dr. Nancy Leonard said the $100,000 award will go toward a total replacement of five buses.
“We are in critical need of reliable buses,” Leonard said in an email after the announcement. “We made an application to the EPA so that Charlotte County could be considered. With the 18 percent decrease in state funding since 2009, it has been a challenge to find money in the operating budget to replace buses. I am thankful for this rebate opportunity. This helps school divisions like Charlotte County purchase much-needed safer and more reliable buses to transport our students.”
According to an advance copy of a school bus funding request Leonard will be providing to the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors and the CCPS school board, the new buses must be purchased within 90 days of when the award was made, Dec. 13. The total cost of replacing the five buses is $450,425. Other funding is proposed to come from a $20,000 insurance claim for a totaled bus, $250,000 from the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) and $80,425 in school system revenue from the Virtual Virginia Program.
“The LGIP is the capital improvement line item where I deposit school system surplus budgetary funds at the end of each year,” Leonard explained in her email. “Approval is needed from the board of supervisors to release the funds for us to use for the purchase of the buses.”
In its press release, the EPA said 88 school bus fleets in 27 states will be receive rebates through the agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding.
“Thanks to DERA funding, we are protecting our children from breathing diesel emissions as they travel to school,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Nearly 17,000 of our country’s schools are located within steps of a heavily traveled road, potentially exposing more than 6 million children to traffic-related pollution at a time when their developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.”
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older are receiving rebates between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on the size of the bus. Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years 1994-2006 with a diesel oxidation catalyst plus closed crankcase ventilation system to reduce toxic emissions. The EPA is fully funding the cost of the devices up to $4,000.
The EPA said it has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. It said the 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.
Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 700 clean diesel projects across the country, reducing emissions in more than 70,000 engines.
“Nearly 17,000 of our country’s schools are located within steps of a heavily traveled road, potentially exposing more than six million children to traffic-related pollution at a time when their developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $25,000, 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 plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation system (DOC plus CCV) to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $4,000.
Three other school divisions in Virginia are receiving DERA assistance. Alexandria City Public Schools is receiving $64,000 for to retrofit 16 buses, Norfolk Public Schools is receiving $200,000 to help replace 10 buses and Roanoke County Public Schools is receiving $215,000 to also help replace 10 buses.