The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant to the Atlanta-area Fulton County Schools, which will be further expanding its fleet of propane autogas buses.
According to the federal agency, the DERA Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program grant, totaling $1,962,097, will help curb harmful pollution from school buses. It will allow Fulton County to fund the early retirement of 85 diesel-powered school buses and replace them with new buses powered by propane autogas.
The buses to be replaced are all model-year 2001-2005. The investment is expected to reduce about 22.5 tons of nitrogen oxides and increase the number of propane autogas buses in the school’s fleet to 272, says the EPA.
“The Fulton County School System has shown their commitment to reducing the impacts of diesel emissions with the early retirement of older, dirtier school buses,” comments Mary S. Walker, the EPA’s acting Region 4 administrator. “Combined with the clean school bus idle-reduction policy, the school system has demonstrated a strong commitment to children’s health and the environment.”
In summer 2017, Fulton County Schools rolled out a fleet of 90 propane buses, representing the 10,000th propane school bus manufactured by Georgia-based Blue Bird Corp. At its transportation facilities in Alpharetta and Fairburn, Fulton County Schools has two new propane stations to fuel its buses.
“The U.S EPA’s decision to award a DERA grant to the Fulton County School System to curb harmful pollution from outdated diesel school buses creates a tremendous benefit for the children that ride and spend time in the loading zones,” says Ryan Zic, school bus director at ROUSH CleanTech. “Plus, propane autogas school buses reduce the costs of fuel and maintenance, which can help Fulton County spend less on transportation and more for education.”