The Yukon School District is the only school system in the state to receive part of $8.7 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to replace or retrofit hundreds of older diesel school buses.
Yukon’s share of the money totals $200,000 which will help replace 10 buses in the school district’s fleet. The EPA announced last week the $8.7 million would help retrofit 452 older buses in 141 school bus fleets in 32 states. The school districts will also receive rebates through the EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.
In Yukon, the cost of a new bus is about $72,000 and the EPA money will cover 28 percent of the total cost of $720,000.
“These rebates are an innovative way to improve air quality across the country and provide kids with safe, reliable transportation to and from school,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, EPA is equipping local school districts with cleaner-running school buses, helping them along the route to healthier kids and communities.”
In Yukon’s rebate program, the new buses will arrive next month. Ten old buses will be decommissioned and workers will drill a 3-three hole in each engine. Once the engines are made unworkable and the bus frame is cut in half, the district will get the $200,000 rebate.
“Since the EPA launched its Clean School Bus USA program 15 years ago, the agency has been working to ensure that the safest way 26 million students get to school, the iconic yellow school bus, is also one of the healthiest, “said Charlie Hood, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. “The DERA School Bus Replacement program has been instrumental in helping school districts and contractors replace older diesel school buses with newer buses that drastically reduce airborne emissions. The program is one of the most administratively simple within the federal government and has been extremely cost-effective at achieving its intended goals. America’s students and taxpayers are the beneficiaries.”
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000 per bus, depending on the size of the bus. Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years between 1994 to 2006 with a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst, Closed Crankcase Ventilation system, and Fuel Operated Heater to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $6,000.