California School Districts Getting 200-Plus CNG, Propane Autogas Buses

The governing board of California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) recently approved awards for 42 public school districts to replace pre-1994 diesel buses with alternative fuel buses.

The awards, totaling $35,638,000, cover 206 new school buses total. The funding comprises $32,533,300 from the Carl Moyer Program AB 923 Special Revenue Fund and $3,104,700 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2017 Targeted Air Shed Grant in the Clean Fuels Program Fund.

In October, the governing board announced it would be soliciting applications for the replacement of pre-1994 diesel buses with a priority on school buses certified at the optional low NOx standard. A total of 42 public school districts applied, requesting 248 school buses, and SCAQMD approved no more than 15 buses per district, with 38 districts receiving all of their requested buses.

As a result, the funding will cover 115 Type D compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses certified to meet the optional low NOx standard of 0.02 g/bhp-hr and 91 Type C propane autogas school buses certified to meet the optional low NOx standard of 0.05 g/bhp-hr for a total of 206 replacements.

The awards provide up to $192,000 for a Type D CNG bus and $121,000 for a Type C propane autogas bus, including sales tax. The school districts will be required to provide a minimum local match of $15,000 per CNG bus and $10,000 per propane bus. In addition, the award will include $4,500 per bus for the optional fire suppressant system, as well as fueling infrastructure funding up to $14,000 per CNG and $5,000 per propane bus for those school districts that have requested it. School districts will have to pay for any discretionary options they may choose to include on the bus. The diesel buses will be permanently destroyed by licensed dismantlers.

Since California’s Lower-Emission School Bus Program began in 2001, SCAQMD says it has provided over $280 million in state and local funds to replace over 1,600 “highly polluting” school buses with alternative fuel buses and to retrofit 3,400 newer diesel school buses with particulate traps.

More information on the awards can be found here.

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