A new funding opportunity for public school bus fleets opened last week when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality began accepting applications for rebates to help replace older-model diesel school buses with new school buses that meet the cleanest emission standards.
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2010 allows the EPA to offer rebates in addition to grants to reduce harmful emissions from older commercial vehicles with high emissions. The rebate program has funded vehicle replacements or retrofits for almost 2,000 vehicles to date.
Typically, the rebate application period opens in the fall and projects are completed in less than one year. The EPA is accepting applications from Sept. 30 through to Oct. 30, 2019.
The EPA said it anticipates awarding approximately $40 million in competitive grant funding for the DERA Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. The 2019 DERA School Bus Rebates offer a quarter of that amount to public and private fleet owners to replace old diesel school buses with new buses that are certified to the EPA’s cleanest emission standards. The EPA will give awardees $15,000 to 20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing old buses.
“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a safer, more reliable 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.”
Regional, state and tribal agencies that have jurisdiction over transportation and air quality, including school districts, municipalities and private school bus companies they contract with, are eligible to apply.
Fleets with up to 100 school buses may submit one application listing up to 10 buses for scrappage and replacement. Fleets of over 100 school buses may submit up to two rebate applications, with each listing up to 10 different buses for scrappage and replacement.
The selection process is a lottery, with at least one fleet selected from each state or territory represented in the applicant pool.
Eligible Old School Buses to be Replaced
- Used to transport 10 or more pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students to school or homes
- Driven 10,000 or more miles over the last 12 months or in use 3 or more days a week during the current school year
- Owned by the applicant without any active liens
- Class 3-8 diesel-powered buses [greater than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)]
- Buses must be powered by 2006 or older model-year engines
- Engine and chassis must be scrapped before receiving a rebate payment
Eligible Replacement Buses
- Powered by a 2017 or newer model year engine
- Eligible replacement buses may operate on diesel, gasoline, battery, or alternative fuels
- Operate in a similar manner and over similar routes as the bus being replaced
- Be purchased, not leased or leased-to-own
- Rebate reimbursement is $15,000 for replacement buses between 10,001-19,500 lbs
- GVWR and $20,000 for replacement buses with GVWR of 19,501 lbs. or higher
Tuesday is the start of Children’s Health Month, and the EPA described its announcement as an important part of the agency’s commitment to protecting children’s health and their future.
This is the seventh rebate program to fund cleaner school buses under the DERA appropriations. Nearly 30,000 buses nationwide have already received DERA funding.
To learn more about the rebate program, applicant eligibility, selection process and dates for informational webinars, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates. Questions about applying for the EPA funds may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DERA Rebate Funding
FY Total Disbursed Program
2018 $8.25 mln (expected) School Bus Replacement
2017 $8.20 mln School Bus Replacement or Retrofit
2016 $7.24 mln School Bus Replacement or Retrofit
2015 $6.04 mln School Bus Replacement or Retrofit
2014 $3.94 mln School Bus Replacement
2013 $52,991 Construction Equipment
2012 $1.88 mln School Bus Replacement
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