Release 08-22
March 27, 2008

    Patricia Rey

ARB approves $200 million for Cleaner School Buses from Proposition 1B Funding
Program will reduce exposure of children to pollution from high emitting buses

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board approved today the allocation of nearly $200 million to replace the remaining 74 oldest school buses still circulating in California, and to replace or retrofit an additional 4,500 high polluting buses serving public schools.

Proposition 1B, approved by voters in 2006, provides funding for the ARB Lower-Emission School Bus Program. These monies will allow school districts to replace or retrofit diesel school buses in another effort to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions in California. Since established in 2000, the program has provided over $100 million to replace 600 school buses and retrofit another 3,800 vehicles.

"I can't even begin to describe the significant health benefits that this program will bring into California and particularly for our most precious sector of the population, our children," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "The additional funding originated by Proposition 1B will be well put to work by providing safe and clean transportation to public schools throughout the state, creating a much healthier environment for everyone."

As approved by ARB, this year's allocation of nearly $200 million will be distributed among the local air districts as follows:

Local Air Basin Allocation* (in millions)
South Coast $70
Ventura $5
San Diego $5.6
Monterey $7
Bay Area $8.4
Sacramento $9
San Joaquin Valley $39
Other air districts $47
* Allocations have been rounded. Program administration and outreach costs are not included.

The Lower-Emission School Bus Program will cover the cost to replace all 74 still-in-service pre-1977 buses and approximately one thousand 1977-1986 buses. Those replaced buses must be scrapped to comply with established guidelines. Finally, the full cost of about 3,500 retrofits will be paid under this program. Retrofits provide the greatest health benefit in emission reductions per dollar spent.

A 2003 study sponsored by the ARB confirmed that children can be exposed to harmful diesel emissions from the buses they ride to and from school. The same study also stated that exposure to that pollution is worse in pre-1987 vehicles, which have deteriorating engines as well as interior cabins that allow toxic emissions into the bus.

The goal of the program is to reduce the exposure of school children to both cancer-causing and smog-forming pollution by reducing diesel particulate matter emissions from school buses. With the replacement and retrofitting of the vehicles funded by the Lower-Emission School Bus Program, the reductions estimated through 2020 are 3,000 tons of oxides of nitrogen, 200 tons of diesel particulate matter and 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

For more information on the ARB Lower-Emission School Bus Program, please visit /msprog/schoolbus/schoolbus.htm.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.