School districts throughout the state will buy more than the 30 new, less-polluting school buses with help from the Washington Department of Ecology
Ecology provides up $20,000 for each school bus from School Bus Replacement Grant funds. The money helps pay to replace the oldest and most heavily polluting diesel school buses in the state.
"Thanks to support from Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature, Ecology has provided nearly $29 million in the past five years to help school districts add pollution controls on buses and buy new, cleaner-running buses," said Stuart Clark, manager of Ecology's Air Quality Program. "Since some of the oldest, most-polluting buses cannot be fitted with modern air pollution controls, those buses will be retired and replaced with new, ultra-clean models."
"That's important because diesel emissions from school buses pose a health threat to people who breathe them, especially children. We know that diesel exhaust increases asthma, lung and heart disease, and lung cancer," Clark said.
Overall, school buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school. The Washington Clean School Bus Program is working to ensure that the state also has one of the nation's cleanest fleets.
In this grant cycle, 33 school districts applied for money. The 21 selected districts plan to buy a total of 34 new buses.
The money comes from the state Motor Vehicle Account and from a hazardous substance fee. Washington voters created the fee when they passed Initiative 97 - the Model Toxics Control Act - in 1988. The money is dedicated specifically to environmental cleanups and protection in our state.
Participating districts include Washougal in Clark County, North Shore in King County, and 15 others.
For more information go to the Department of Ecology's Web site, at www.ecy.wa.gov.