Aging school buses get boost with $320K grant


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has announced its 2019 Kentucky Clean Diesel Grant Program, which will provide more than $320,000 to fund projects to reduce diesel emissions by replacing aging school buses.

All Kentucky public school districts and private schools that own and operate school buses are eligible to apply for funding through this grant program, which will reimburse up to 25 percent of the total cost of the purchase of a new school bus. Grant recipients are responsible for the remaining 75 percent.

“We hope school districts across the Commonwealth will take advantage of this program that will protect the health of our children by reducing diesel emissions and improving air quality,” said Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely.

According to the Cabinet, diesel exhaust contains a mixture of fine particles, nitrogen oxides, and more than 40 hazardous air pollutants. These pollutants have a negative impact on human health, especially for children who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

They say that due to recent advancements in diesel technology, new buses emit up to 98 percent less particulate matter and up to 90 percent less nitrogen oxide than those built before 1995.

“This program will make it easier for school districts to replace older, more polluting buses with newer, cleaner ones,” said Division for Air Quality director Melissa Duff. “Not only do our communities benefit from cleaner air, but so do bus passengers, since exhaust is often pulled into the vehicle cabin when doors are opened.”

Priority will be given to awarding grants to applicants located in an area not meeting current air quality standards (which includes Louisville and surrounding counties, as well as northern Kentucky), proposals that achieve the most cost-effective emission reductions, and applications that demonstrate the most emissions reductions.

There is a limited time to apply for the program funds, as the deadline is November 13, 2019. Successful applicants will have until August 2, 2021 to complete their projects.

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