|Rebates Available for Diesel School Bus Replacements; Applications Due by August 2
NDEQ’s Nebraska Diesel Emission Mitigation Program has announced the opening of the 2019 School Bus Rebate Program, which will use funds from Nebraska’s portion of Volkswagen State Trust to provide rebates to replace diesel school buses. Schools across the state are being notified that applications are now being accepted and must be received by Aug. 2, 2019, to be considered for selection. NDEQ anticipates awarding 32 school bus rebates during this second year of the program.
Public school districts and private schools in Nebraska are eligible for this funding. Rebates will be available to replace diesel buses (with engine model year 2009 or older) with new or late-model used buses fueled by diesel, propane or compressed natural gas (CNG). The new bus must replace a bus that is currently operational and in use. The replaced bus and engine must be disabled (scrapped) to ensure that the project reduces diesel emissions. Each applicant may submit one application for one bus replacement rebate. Previous recipients of a Nebraska or EPA Clean Diesel School Bus Rebate (2013 or later) are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to schools that are not previous rebate recipients.
NDEQ anticipates providing public school districts with funding covering 50% of the base cost of a replacement diesel bus (up to a maximum of $42,000), or 60% of the base cost of a new propane or CNG bus that meets stricter emissions standards (up to a maximum of $57,000). Private schools will be eligible for a maximum reimbursement of 25% of the base cost of a new diesel, propane or CNG bus as prescribed in the State Trust agreement.
Rebate recipients will be selected by lottery. Applicants that are not previous rebate recipients will have two entries in the lottery, while previous recipients will have one entry. Rebate selectees may not purchase the new bus until they have signed a project agreement with NDEQ.
Source of this funding
A series of court settlements in 2016-2017 regarding emissions test violations required Volkswagen to establish a $2.925 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund to assist states and tribes to offset the excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution emitted by the offending diesel vehicles. Nebraska was allocated approximately $12.25 million in the Trust, which will have a 15-year time span. No more than one-third of the available funds may be requested by the state each year for the first three years of the Trust.
For more information about Nebraska’s involvement in the VW State Trust, go to NDEQ’s Nebraska Diesel Emission Mitigation Program web page at http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AirVW. Schools seeking more information about eligibility and application requirements can find more information at http://deq.ne.gov/publica.nsf/pages/19-007.