DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — Over 40 school districts in Southern California will soon each receive up to 15 alternative-fuel school buses as a result of over $35 million in state funding.
The Lower Emission School Bus Replacement program from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will provide a total of $35,638,000 to replace 206 pre-1994 diesel school buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane buses certified to meet the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) optional low NOx or near-zero emission standard. The funding will go to districts located in disadvantaged communities or environmental justice areas, according to a notice from the SCAQMD.
Forty-two school districts applied for funding for a total of 248 school buses from the Lower Emission School Bus Replacement Program, which announced the availability of the funding in October.
Each district will be awarded funding to replace up to 15 school buses — 115 of those buses will be Type D CNG school buses and 91 will be Type C propane school buses. Thirty-eight school districts will receive funding for all the buses they requested to replace.
The recommended awards will provide up to $192,000 for a Type D CNG bus and $121,000 for a Type C propane bus, including sales tax. Additionally, the awards will include $4,500 per bus for an optional fire suppressant system, and fueling infrastructure funding up to $14,000 per CNG and $5,000 per propane bus for school districts that have requested it. School districts will have to pay for any discretionary options they may choose to include on the bus.
School districts will be required to provide a minimum local match of $15,000 per CNG bus and $10,000 per propane bus.
Districts can opt to replace a pre-1994 diesel school bus with an electric school bus, but will still receive the same amount of funding.
The diesel buses will be permanently destroyed by licensed dismantlers.
Using CalEPA’s CalEnviroScreen mapping tool, which helps identify disadvantaged communities in California, over 76% of the school districts that are proposed for replacement awards include disadvantaged communities.
The state also announced awards last week for more than $1.2 billion for more alternative-fuel vehicles, including approximately 40 electric school buses as part of the Rural School Bus Pilot Project.