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Clean School Bus Bill Asks for $20M to Replace Old Buses

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Flickr: Bill McChesney

The House Transportation Committee approved a bill on Thursday that would help schools and school districts replace old buses with ones that run on cleaner fuels.

Rep. Stephen Handy’s HB49 is asking for $20 million dollars to establish a grant program that would help school districts replace old buses. To qualify for a grant, a bus would have to be made before 2002 and be replaced with a newer one that uses alternative or cleaner fuel, like compressed natural gas. The school or district would also have to provide matching funds.

Rep. Handy, R-Layton, says the bill is both a transportation and public health issue.

“I think everyone of us has been, I’m sure I have, behind a school bus and you see it spewing dirty black air," he says. "That’s what we’re talking about. But it’s what you can’t see that’s even more dangerous.”

While the bill passed out of the committee unanimously, Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden, said he is concerned with how much money the bill is asking for.

“How many districts do you think are going to move on this? How soon can they move? How long does it take to order these buses?" De asked. "Obviously I’m looking for a way here, if we could say, we give you a non-lapsing, $10 million non-lapsing and next year we look at it again.“

There are about 2500 school buses in the state fleet, 450 of which are older than 2002 and burn dirty diesel. 

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