DENVER — The economic stimulus package signed by President Obama here on Tuesday contains potential funding for reducing school bus emissions and improving school facilities.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes $300 million for clean diesel efforts, such as retrofitting older vehicles with particulate filters and purchasing new vehicles.
The ARRA Funding for National Diesel Emissions Reduction Program will be offered this year in addition to the EPA’s fiscal year 2009 National Diesel Emissions Reduction Program Appropriations.
In its latest newsletter, the National School Transportation Association called the provision "a huge infusion of funding" and said that there will be pressure to spend the money quickly.
The EPA said that there will be separate competitive announcements for the two programs, with the ARRA announcement scheduled to be made in early March. Visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel for updates.
The ARRA stimulus package also creates a $54-billion education fund to help prevent or restore state budget cuts. Mike Martin, executive director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, said it appears that about $8 billion of the fund could be used to modernize and renovate school buildings, including transportation facilities.
However, Martin expressed disappointment that ARRA provides $8.4 billion for investments in public transit projects and $150 million for rail and transit security grants, but neither includes pupil transportation.
“The activities authorized under the transit stimulus will provide financial support for many of the same needs that exist as well in school transportation, which makes it especially disappointing that financial support for our nation's largest mass transit system — yellow school buses — was not included in this package,” Martin said.