EPA Offers Rebates To School Bus Fleet Owners

6By Terry Rogers

According to United States Senator Tom Carper, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin offering rebates to school bus fleet owners under the National Clean Diesel Rebate Program. The program is designed to reduce diesel emissions and will help improve the air quality in the country.

“School buses are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport children to and from school,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation. “The rebates to retrofit older bus engines will provide healthier rides for the 25 million children across the country who ride them on a daily basis.

The program, known as the 2014 School Bus Replacement Funding Opportunity, is offering $3 million in rebate funding. Public and private school bus fleets are eligible to apply for the rebates for replacing school buses that are model year of 2006 or older. Applications will be accepted from October 15 through November 17, 2014. Fleet owners may submit only one application for up to five bus replacements.

Contractors who own and operate buses in Milford School District are considering applying for the program. “I am looking into the possibility,” said Bob Koppenhaver, owner of RJK Transportation. “The only thing I don’t like is that you have to scrap the bus you’re replacing. You have to drill a hole through the engine block and cut the frame rails, which is similar to the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program offered several years ago. I just think that destroying the engine of a bus is wasteful.”

Steve Peterman, who also owns buses that are operated in Milford, says that he believes the $25,000 rebate is impressive, but still has questions about the program. “My buses aren’t ten years old yet,” Mr. Peterman said. “According to Delaware Department of Education guidelines, I am not able to replace them yet. Does this rebate override that? I also use buses as spares after the contract is up on them with the state. I don’t know that I am interested in destroying a bus in order to get the rebate.”

Neil Moore, owner of D&N Bus Service, says the program is not new and that he applied for the rebates a few years ago. He explained that the program is designed to get older buses replaced with buses that are newer, clean-burning new models.

Senator Carper wrote the authorizing language for the program which is offered throughout the country in an effort to encourage bus fleet owners to replace buses with those who burn cleaner energy than diesel fuel. Fleet owners who are interested in applying for the rebates can learn more at http://epa.gov/cleandiesel/dera-rebate-schoolbus14.htm.

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