Federal money to help school buses run cleaner
The San Diego Air Pollution Control District (APCD) will be spending $3.5 million in federal economic stimulus funding and local matching funds to replace, repower or retrofit 127 school buses, including seven Ramona Unified School District buses.
The Ramona buses will be retrofitted with diesel particulate filters.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors, which acts as the governing board of the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, voted 5-0 to accept the recommendations of APCD staff. The money will pay to replace 12 buses with cleaner vehicles, repower two school buses with cleaner engines, and retrofit 113 buses with particulate filters.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $156 million nationwide for the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program to support diesel emission reductions programs. APCD was awarded $1.56 million and was required to provide $2 million in matching funds. The total $3.6 million includes $81,232 for program outreach and administration.
The National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program pays for up to 25 percent of the cost to replace a school bus, up to 75 percent of the cost to repower a school bus, and up to $9,000 of the cost to retrofit a school bus.
APCD received applications from 28 school districts and one private school transportation provider. Those applications requested 38 bus replacements, five school bus repowers, and 298 retrofits for a total cost of nearly $10 million. APCD recommendations were based on replacing, repowering, and retrofitting the oldest eligible buses, limiting the replacement of school buses to 1984 and older models and the retrofits to 1987 through 1995 models.
APCD had planned to use state Proposition 1B Lower-Emission School Bus Program funds for the required local match, but the state’s inability to sell bonds has caused that grant program to be suspended. All projects funded with National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program money must be completed by Sept. 30, 2010, so the APCD used $2 million from the Air Quality Power Generation Mitigation Fund for the matching amount.
School districts will be required to pay any costs above the $2 million appropriation, and the Mountain Empire Unified School District, which is the only district that requested bus repower funds, will pay the 25 percent not covered by the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program.
The replacements, repowers and retrofits that were approved for APCD funding are expected to reduce diesel particulate emission matters by approximately 1.6 tons annually and reduce oxides of nitrogen emissions by approximately 0.9 tons annually.
The funding will also pay for the replacement of one San Pasqual Union School District bus and the retrofit of one San Pasqual Union School District bus.
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