The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that Lower Merion School District has been awarded a 2020 Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant (AFIG) in the amount of $289,590 for the purchase of ten compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. LMSD was one of 20 cleaner fuel transportation projects statewide to receive such a grant in an effort to help improve air quality and public health as well as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help combat climate change.
The $289,590 received by LMSD represents the price differential between the more costly CNG buses and the less expensive diesel-fueled buses.
"These grants help cities, counties, school districts, colleges, as well as delivery, trash hauling, and other companies across Pennsylvania that want to be proactive in reducing air pollution from transportation," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "Their projects will help Pennsylvanians breathe cleaner air at school, in their communities, and at their workplaces."
The AFIG Program funds projects that replace older gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner fuel vehicles to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas.
The program supports electric, ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane gas and other cleaner fuel vehicles. It also supports installation of fueling stations for these vehicles.
Transportation generates 47% of nitrogen oxides emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone. This affects the health of children; older people; people with lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema; and those who work or are active outdoors. The state Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor.
Collectively, the new LMSD buses and 19 other projects are anticipated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 900 metric tons per year.