NEW YORK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded more than $9.3 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses.
The funds are being distributed to 145 school bus fleets in 43 states or territories, each of which will receive rebates through the EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.
“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”
The EPA plans to award applicants rebates between $15,000 and $20,000 to replace buses with engine model years of 2006 and older, depending on the size of the bus, according to the EPA.
A total of six applications were selected in EPA Region 2 with winners in New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico. The selected applicants received a total rebate funding amount of $725,000 to replace 39 school buses.
In Illinois, eight applicants were awarded a total of $940,000 in funding to replace 48 diesel school buses.
Meanwhile, in California, four school bus fleets received rebates totaling $185,000 toward 10 cleaner school buses.
Over the last seven years, the agency has awarded approximately $39 million in rebates to replace almost 2,000 school buses, according to the EPA.
Nationwide, school buses travel over 3.4 billion miles annually, and transport more than 25 million students to and from school each day, according to SBF's 2019 Fact Book.
As previously reported, the EPA announced in December a separate round of national DERA grants totaling about $40 million for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions, particularly in areas designated as having poor air quality. The agency anticipates making between 40 and 80 awards from this round of funding that will be distributed between June and October 2019, according to the EPA’s website.
A list of the 2018 DERA school bus rebate recipients can be found here.