Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Clean Air Coalition Annouces EPA Grant<br>for Reducing School Bus Diesel Exhaust

March 09, 2006
Ken Syke, Madison School District, 663-1903, or Dave Merritt, Dane County Clean Air Coalition, 266-9063, or Elissa Speizman, U.S. EPA Region 5, 312-353-2073
County Executive

14 school districts, 5 bus companies & Clean Air Coalition are project partners The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and participating partners (see sidebar) have been awarded a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the amount of $291,470 to support the procurement and installation of pollution control mufflers in 300 school buses. Part of the “Clean School Bus USA” EPA program, this grant project involves a consortium of 14 school districts and five private bus companies in southern and central Wisconsin. The MMSD is the project leader and fiscal agent. All 14 of the districts participating in this project contract with private bus companies, rather than owning their own fleets, to provide student transportation services. 253 of the school buses will be retrofitted with EPA-verified diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC) and 47 buses will receive crankcase filtration systems (CFS). The DOCs will be installed in buses with engine model years between 1997 and 2004, that segment of the older buses in each fleet that are likely to be in service for at least another five years. The DOCs and CFSs will be installed within the next 12 months. According to the EPA, the installation of DOCs can reduce hydrocarbons by 50%, carbon monoxide by 40% and particulate matter (PM) by 20%. In addition to the project’s DOC component, Johnson School Bus Service in Fond du Lac will retrofit its entire 47 vehicle fleet with CFS that promise to provide substantial additional PM reductions in on-bus exposures. "This Clean School Bus USA grant is part of EPA's effort to get rid of that all-too-familiar black puff of diesel smoke and reduce the harmful health effects of diesel emissions," said Tom Skinner, administrator of EPA Region 5. "Children are among the most susceptible to health problems caused by the smog and the soot that diesel emissions produce, so the retrofitting of school buses is an important step." The EPA is working toward a goal of every school bus in America being a “clean bus.” This grant -- one of 37 grants worth $7.5 million recently announced by the EPA – is the only one awarded in Wisconsin. The MMSD will be responsible for competitively procuring the DOC and CFS equipment, while each participating bus company will be responsible for installation and maintenance of the retrofit equipment. “The grant request took place because of the initiative of Renee Bremer and Jeff Fedler in our transportation office,” said Madison School Superintendent Art Rainwater. “We’re glad to be working with such a large partnership on this important clean air effort.” The MMSD was one of just four winners of the 2005 Wisconsin Partners for Clean Air Award which recognizes organizations that have taken voluntary actions to improve air quality. "Cleaner school buses mean healthier Dane County children," said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. "Thousands of our Dane County kids who ride a bus to school everyday will soon be breathing easier." "I would like to give Art Rainwater and the Madison Metropolitan School District an A for making Madison a healthier place to learn and live," said City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "Our yellow school buses will have a 'green' future by becoming low-polluting and air-friendly for our children." Dane County and the City of Madison are two of the 13 members of the Dane County Clean Air Coalition, which formally supports this grant project. (All members are listed below.) The project manager for the grant is Renee Bremer, MMSD Transportation Manager. Dane County Clean Air Coalition members:
  • City of Madison
  • Dane County
  • Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
  • Kraft Foods
  • Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Madison Gas & Electric Company
  • Madison Metropolitan School District
  • Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Wisconsin Department of Administration
  • Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Wisconsin Petroleum Council