HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week the availability of about $10 million in rebates for public school bus fleet owners to help them replace older buses. The Hannibal School District is among the local districts seeking funds.
"We apply each year and hope that we are selected," said Rich Stilley, the school district's business manager.
This is the seventh school bus rebate program the EPA has offered.
"We have been fortunate to have received grant funding three times in the last six or seven years," Stilley said.
The EPA grant program, offered under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, has helped the Hannibal district replace older buses on a regular basis.
"We have a rotation program. We normally replace two or three buses on an annual basis to ensure that we are maintaining a fleet that is safe, reliable and efficient for our students and drivers," Stilley said.
On Sept. 20 Hannibal took delivery of three new buses that feature air-conditioning, upgraded camera systems, and enhanced ride and safety systems. Stilley said the new additions to Hannibal's 38-bus fleet brings to 15 the number of buses that are 6 years old or newer.
Stilley estimates that an EPA grant covers 20 percent of the cost of a new bus, which roughly costs $110,000.
"Hannibal has been blessed to have a board of education that supports the replacement of our buses. That allows us to maintain a reliable and safe fleet," he said.
According to the EPA, the purpose of the grant program is to replace buses with older engines, which in turn "reduces diesel emissions and improves air quality."
Nearly 30,000 buses across the nation have been replaced since the start of the EPA's grant program.
This year's grant application deadline is Oct. 30.