The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has announced more than $8.85 million in grant funding to support school bus replacements across the state.
The competitive grant program – funded by the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust – provides financial assistance to grantees to replace a minimum of one eligible school bus with any new diesel or alternative fuel bus.
Thirty-nine entities will replace a total of 143 model-year 2009 or older school buses with 68 new diesel, one electric, 66 propane autogas and eight compressed natural gas school buses.
Of the school buses funded, 27 will operate 70% or more of the time in former non-attainment areas for ozone and/or fine particulates (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards, and 44 will operate in economically distressed counties, defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission as counties that rank among the 10% most economically distressed counties in the nation, based on a three-year average unemployment rate, per capita market income and poverty rate.
“These grants will help us to better protect our children and our environment,” says Gov. Bill Lee, R-Tenn. “Investing in technologically advanced transportation updates, particularly in our rural counties, is one way we are supporting the health and safety of our students.”
“Projects supported by this program will reduce air pollutants that threaten public health and the environment,” adds David Salyers, commissioner of TDEC. “By lowering school bus emissions, we can enhance quality of life in our state, particularly for our children.”