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Medford Receives $483,000 EPA Grant for Clean School Buses; Project Selected From Among 120 Applicants Nationwide

Release Date: 10/23/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, 617-918-1008 Kim Lundgren, City of Medford, (781-393-2137)

BOSTON - EPA's New England Administrator Robert W. Varney and Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn visited a Medford school today to announce that the city has received a $483,000 grant from the EPA so that pollution control equipment and low-polluting diesel fuel can be used on more than 50 school buses in the city.

Flanked by dozens of students at the Brooks Elementary School, Varney said the city was one of 17 demonstration projects selected nationwide for $5 million of funding specifically authorized by the U.S. Congress this year under EPA's 2003 Clean School Bus USA grant competition. The projects, chosen from among 120 applications, will help reduce pollution from 4,000 school buses and remove more than 200,000 pounds of diesel particulate matter from the air over the next 10 years.

"The City of Medford deserves kudos for putting together a project that will help enormously in curbing air pollution from school buses," said Varney, during a visit this morning to the new elementary school which opened its doors in September. "In addition to reducing children's exposure to diesel pollution, this project will improve overall air quality in a city where smog exceedances and elevated asthma rates are a public health concern."

"The City of Medford has been working on reducing local air pollutants for several years. Receiving this grant will assist us in reaching the emission reduction goals laid out in Medford's Climate Action Plan," said Mayor McGlynn. "Medford is proud to lead the way in environmental awareness and protection and we appreciate the EPA's recognition of our efforts by funding Phase II of Medford's Vehicle Emission Reduction Program. Clean school buses can only benefit this community and its children."

The city of Medford applied for the grant on behalf of the school district as part of the city's "Vehicle Emission Reduction Program," which aims to reduce pollution from all of the city's major diesel fleets, including the school bus fleet. The city will use the grant money to install diesel-particulate matter filters on 54 school buses and fuel the entire fleet of 65 school buses with ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel. The filters and cleaner fuel will reduce particulate matter pollution from the school buses by 90 percent.

The city's school buses are owned and operated by the Vocell Bus Company, which provides school transportation to Medford and 13 neighboring communities. All 14 of the communities will benefit from the cleaner buses.

Medford is one of two projects selected in New England for Clean School Bus USA funding. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection received $567,000 to help 20 school districts install pollution-control equipment on 266 school buses. The buses will be outfitted with diesel oxidation catalysts, which will reduce particulate matter pollution from the buses by about 20 percent.

School buses provide a vital service, safely transporting 24 million children to and from school every day. However, much can be done to reduce emissions from these buses and thus help children breathe easier.

In April 2003, EPA launched the Clean School Bus USA program to help reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel emissions, which can cause respiratory disease and exacerbate long term conditions such as asthma. Asthma is the most common long-term childhood disease, affecting 6.3 million children.

The goals of Clean School Bus USA are to eliminate unnecessary idling, replace the oldest school buses with new ones and equip existing buses with advanced emission control technologies.

Cleaner school buses help not only the children who ride them but also their bus drivers, teachers, families, and communities who benefit from cleaner air and reduced exposure to diesel exhaust.

The grant recipients were first announced yesterday by EPA Acting Administrator Marianne Horinko in Dayton, Ohio.

"The 17 demonstration projects that we are funding will help pave the way for future projects to reduce pollution from school buses," Horinko said. "Each project will bring us a little closer to our goal of eliminating unnecessary idling and replacing or retrofitting this country's 390,000 diesel school buses by 2010."

In addition to the EPA funds, the 17 grant recipients are providing significant funds of their own. In total, they will contribute close to $5 million dollars in matching funds to the clean school bus projects.

A list of the 17 grant recipients is attached below. For more information about EPA's Clean School Bus USA Grant Competition, visit:

2003 Clean School Bus USA Grant Recipients

City of Medford – Medford, MA
Maine Department of Environmental Protection – Statewide
Corning-Painted Post Area School District – Painted Post, NY
North Allegheny School District – Pittsburgh, PA
General McLane School District – Edinboro, PA
Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency – Asheville, NC
Columbus Municipal School District – Columbus, MS
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Regional Air Pollution Control Agency – Dayton, OH
Cleveland Municipal School District – Cleveland, OH
Texas State Energy Conservation Office
Regional Air Quality Council – Denver, CO
Salt Lake Clean Cities Coalition – Salt Lake City, UT
Paradise Valley Unified School District #69 – Phoenix, AZ
Clovis Unified School District – Clovis, CA
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency – Seattle, WA
National School Transportation Association – Nationwide