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FUESD passed over for bus retrofit stimulus funding

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District will be spending $3,519,420 in Federal economic stimulus funding and local matching funds to replace, repower, or retrofit 127 school buses, but the request by the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District to retrofit two buses was not on the list of funded replacements and retrofits.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors, which acts as the governing board of the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, voted 5-0 September 23 to accept the recommendations of APCD staff.

The approved allocations will fund the replacement of 12 buses with cleaner vehicles, the repowering of two school buses with cleaner engines, and the retrofit of 113 buses with diesel particulate filters.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $156 million nationwide for the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program to support diesel emission reductions programs.

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District was awarded $1,563,652 while the Air Pollution Control District was required to provide $2,037,000 in matching funds.

The total $3,600,652 expenditure includes $81,232 for program outreach and administration.

The National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program pays for up to 25 percent of the cost to replace a school bus, up to 75 percent of the cost to repower a school bus, and up to $9,000 of the cost to retrofit a school bus.

The APCD received applications from 28 school districts and one private school transportation provider.

Those applications requested 38 bus replacements, five school bus repowers, and 298 retrofits and would have a total cost of nearly $10 million.

The APCD recommendations were based on replacing, repowering, and retrofitting the oldest eligible buses, limiting the replacement of school buses to 1984 and older models and the retrofits to 1987 through 1995 models.

The APCD had planned to use state Proposition 1B Lower-Emission School Bus Program funds for the required local match, but the state’s inability to sell bonds has caused that grant program to be suspended.

All projects funded with National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program money must be completed by September 30, 2010, so the APCD utilized $2,037,000 from the Air Quality Power Generation Mitigation Fund for the matching amount.

School districts will be required to pay any costs above the $2,037,000 appropriation, and the Mountain Empire Unified School District, which is the only district which requested bus repower funds, will pay the 25 percent not covered by the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program.

The replacements, repowers, and retrofits which were approved for APCD funding are expected to reduce diesel particulate emission matters by approximately 1.6 tons annually and reduce oxides of nitrogen emissions by approximately 0.9 tons annually.


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