CNS - Almost $68 million in voter approved state bond funds will be used to make Southland school bus fleets environmentally friendly, it was announced. More than $47 million of the funding from Proposition 1B bonds will be spent on replacing older diesel buses with cleaner-burning compressed natural gas buses, while $20 million will be used to retrofit newer diesel buses with particulate traps, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Part the funding will also pay for fueling facilities for the CNG buses.
“Some of these (diesel) buses are among the highest polluting vehicles in operation today and pose a significant health risk to our schoolchildren,” said William A. Burke, chairman of the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
CNG school buses emit an average of six times less smog- and particulate- forming nitrogen oxides than the diesel buses they replace, according to the AQMD. The AQMD also awarded $955,000 to four school districts to replace the remaining pre-1977 diesel school buses still in operation in the area. Since 2000, the AQMD has used $106 million to replace 626 older diesel school buses with 540 CNG buses and 86 newer diesel buses, and to retrofit 2,777 diesel buses with particulate trips, according to the air quality agency.