The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 2020 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebate awards. This rebate allows eligible school districts to reduce the harmful emissions from older, dirtier vehicles and replace them with newer cleaner diesel or alternative fuel buses, which may include propane.
Kentucky school districts were able to purchase 36 buses this year with the assistance of the EPA funding of $20,000 per bus for diesel and $25,000 for propane. The EPA provided $755,000 in total for 2020, the most funding it has received from the program.
The districts receiving funding and the number of buses they are replacing include:
- Bell County, $200,000, 10 buses;
- Bullitt County, $175,000, seven buses;
- Henry County, $20,000, one bus;
- Jefferson County, $140,000, seven buses;
- Marion County, $20,000, one bus;
- Robertson County, $20,000, one bus;
- Walton-Verona $20,000, one bus; and
- Warren County, $160,000, eight buses.
To receive the rebate, the school buses must be 2006 models or older, driven 10,000 miles or more in the last 12 months or used three or more days per week between September 2019 and Feb. 29, 2020. The school districts must destroy the older buses by cutting the chassis rails in half and a hole in the engine. The buses must be scrapped prior to receiving the rebate.
The DERA program has provided the nation with partial funding since 2012. Various states have received a total of 2,803 buses at about $57 million. Kentucky has been a recipient of 69 buses during the past eight years for a total of $1,415,000.