School buses make up the largest public transportation fleet in the U.S., with 480,000 lumbering about in normal times — meaning, when a pandemic isn’t raging. And in those normal times, they ferry 26 million children to and from school each day. Their widespread return to the roads will be just one more signal of a return to normal.
The problem is that many school buses don’t exactly run clean. And, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90% cleaner, according to a press release from the EPA, many older diesel school buses still “emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, and other health effects or illnesses that can lead to missed days of work or school.”
That’s why the EPA has awarded $10.5 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses nationwide, with the aim of reducing those pollutants. It seems like very small change, but it is something. Under the program, New Jersey is to get $500,000 to replace 25 buses with cleaner-running transportation.
The funding in New Jersey goes to:
- Yellow Bus Leasing.com LLC in Bellmawr: $200,000 to replace 10 buses;
- First Student in Berlin: $200,000 to replace 10 buses;
- Irvin Raphael, Inc., in East Brunswick: $40,000 to replace two buses;
- Toms River Regional Schools: $40,000 to replace two buses;
- Berlin Township Board of Education: $20,000 to replace one bus.