Thousands of children in the Central Texas counties of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson start and end the school day with a ride on a big yellow school bus. While riding the bus is a very safe way to travel to school, unfortunately, many of the buses are aging diesel vehicles which lack emissions controls. EPA School Bus Program.

These older buses emit tiny soot particles and toxic gases in their exhaust which can pose health hazards to children waiting at a bus stop or riding the bus. Latest study on children’s exposure to pollution on school buses. Diesel exhaust is known to cause or exacerbate many respiratory diseases including asthma, one of the leading causes of school absenteeism in Central Texas. As children breath at twice the rate of adults, they are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of diesel exhaust.

In addition to emissions of soot particles which can lodge deep within children’s lungs, diesel exhaust contains oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC), the pollutants that cause ground level ozone (smog). As the Central Texas area is designated as near –nonattainment of the federal ozone standards, we need to take every possible action to ensure the air we breathe does not become any dirtier.

New buses today are over 80 percent cleaner than many of these older buses and many existing buses can be retrofitted with emission controls to reduce exhaust emissions.

Unfortunately, for most school districts faced with lean or shrinking school budgets, limited funds are available for replacing or retrofitting buses to reduce toxic air emissions. Help Make Your Kids' School an Idle-Free Zone!

The CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas www.cleanairforce.org, with funding from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) www.tceq.state.tx.us, has created the Clean School Bus Program of Central Texas to help turn these older, dirtier school buses into GREEN MACHINES. The Program has been established as a non-profit grant program to provide information and funds to help local school districts retrofit their existing diesel-powered school bus fleets, or, if funds allow, replace their aging school buses with new, clean, green diesel buses.

As funds allow, the Clean School Bus Program aims to help qualifying school districts by meeting 100 percent of the costs of retrofitting older diesel school buses and 50 percent of the costs or replacing older diesel buses with new cleaner buses.

Review of Texas' Clean School Bus Program - How Far Have We Come and What Is Still Left to Do?

Program Results

Total Number of School Buses Cleaned

308

Number of School Buses Replaced

63

Number of School Buses Retrofitted

245

Number of School Districts Served

34

Estimated Particulate Matter (PM) Reduced

7.1 Tons

Estimated Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Reduced

42.8 Tons

Total Cost of Projects

$1,172,176