ALBUQUERQUE ― The Albuquerque Public School District has been awarded $380,626.00 in grant funding from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).
The grant provides partial funding for the early replacement of five older, more polluting diesel-fueled school buses with five new gasoline-fueled school buses that meet the current EPA emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
“These new school buses for the Albuquerque Public Schools will help protect the health of the children that ride the school buses daily and the residents and workers of the City of Albuquerque that are exposed to the harmful emissions generated by the older, dirtier school buses,” said New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary Butch Tongate. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Albuquerque Public Schools, reducing emissions generated by diesel-fueled vehicles, preserving air quality and enhancing the quality of life for the children that are exposed to the harmful emissions on a regular basis.”
“Albuquerque Public Schools Student Transportation Services is committed to getting students to and from school as safely and efficiently as possible. The new school buses will help us achieve that mission by improving the air our students breath,” APS Chief Operations Officer Scott Elder said. “We appreciate the New Mexico Environment Department for providing grant funding to APS that allowed us to replace five older buses with ones that meet current EPA emissions standards.”
Older, more polluting school buses can lead to significant health risks for students, who typically ride these buses for 30 minutes up to two hours per day (in some rural locations). Children are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults because their respiratory systems are still developing, and they have faster breathing rates than adults. Asthma, a respiratory condition which affects 6.3 million American school children, is the most common long-term childhood disease in America.
Replacing older buses with newer, cleaner buses is a top priority for reducing children’s exposure to diesel exhaust while also providing considerable safety improvements.
The State will receive additional DERA funding for the new federal fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019. For additional information regarding the DERA funding and diesel emission reduction projects in the state, visit our website, or call us at 505.476.4300.