The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) will receive a Clean School Bus USA award totaling $493,003 from the Environmental Protection Agency to be applied to the purchase of 19 new compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses.
TUSD currently has 5 CNG buses. The award was given based on the District’s 12-year experience with CNG, its commitment to idling reduction in its fleet and its piloting of the Arizona’s State Idle Reduction Program.
The TUSD bus fleet travels an average of almost 5 million miles per year. The district is trying to upgrade its fleet of 308 buses with the cleanest options. Currently, the fleet comprises five CNG buses, 34 buses using unleaded fuel and 269 diesel buses. Of the diesels, 75 of the oldest have been retrofitted with oxidation-reduction catalysts from a previous Caterpillar private sector grant.
The goal of Clean School Bus USA is to reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses.
The 2005 program had $7.5 million available for grants, for which it received more than 170 applications requesting nearly $50 million in grant funding.