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Clean Diesel Grant Program

Grants to South Dakota Public School Districts
to Purchase New Low-Emission Buses

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR)

Deadline Date:

12/15/17 5:00 PM


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Grants to South Dakota public school districts for the replacement of in-use older model diesel buses. The purpose of this program is to reduce diesel-related emissions and children’s exposure to harmful pollutants. Rebates offered through this program will defray the cost of new buses that meet current emission standards.


While South Dakota’s air quality is cleaner than many states and currently meets the federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards, reducing emissions from diesel engines is one of the most important air quality challenges facing the country. The South Dakota program will provide rebates to help school districts purchase new public school buses to replace old, high-emitting public school buses.

School buses are a safe and effective way to transport children to and from school, but they emit pollution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to school bus diesel exhaust, even at low levels, is a health hazard that can aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis and possibly increase the risk of lung damage. Asthma is currently the number one cause of missed school days for American children. According to the 2005 edition of "The Health Behaviors of South Dakotans", 11,348 children were at risk due to current asthma.

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel exhaust since their lungs are not yet fully developed, and they breathe twice as much air as adults per pound of body weight. Some children can spend an average of an hour per day on diesel powered buses, inhaling the mixture of pollutants. Diesel fuel contains 40 chemicals listed as hazardous air pollutants under the federal Clean Air Act. And, you don’t have to ride the bus to breathe in these fumes. The air quality in and around schools is compromised by idling buses during morning and afternoon drop off and pick up, exposing not only students, but parents, teachers, administrators and bus drivers to unhealthy diesel emissions.

“The School Bus Pollution Report Card 2006”, researched by the Union of Concerned Scientists and endorsed by the American Lung Association, found that the average South Dakota school bus ranked among the oldest and most- polluting in the country. There were about 1,670 public school buses operating in South Dakota. These school buses tended to be older vehicles operating on diesel engines that have significantly higher nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emission levels compared to current emission standards. The average bus in the state was 14 years old, with 63% of the fleet being over 10 years old. The state received a D for soot pollution and the lowest possible rankings for cleanup.

School buses, like all diesel-powered vehicles, pollute the air with harmful gases and particles. Purchasing newer school buses with better emissions controls can decrease the amount of harmful pollution generated, helping to reduce the risk of asthma attacks, respiratory problems, and other diseases. This is especially important for children, whose developing lungs are particularly susceptible to diesel exhaust's damaging health effects.

South Dakota is generally not densely populated; therefore some school districts are rather large in size and cover many square miles. The major source of transportation to and from school for many students is school buses. Because of the size of some of the school districts, buses are operating many hours per year, and students spend many hours riding the buses every year. Replacing older buses would be a health benefit to the students and to the environment by helping keep the air in South Dakota clean.

South Dakota’s program objectives are to reduce diesel emissions and childhood exposure to harmful diesel exhaust, while maximizing school budgets.

Eligible Projects:

This program offers rebates for the replacement of old, high-emitting diesel school buses. Only replacement school buses will be considered for funding. Fleet expansion school buses are not eligible for funding.

The eligibility criteria for existing school buses to be replaced are as follows:

-Funds cannot be used for replacements that would have occurred through normal attrition/fleet turnover within three years of the project start date. Normal attrition is typically defined by the vehicle or fleet owner’s budget plan, operating plan, standard procedures, or retirement schedule. For example, if a school bus fleet typically retires vehicles after 20 years, a bus that is currently in its 18th or 19th year of service is not eligible for replacement. A bus that is currently in its 17th year of service and has three years of useful life remaining (as defined by the fleet’s retirement schedule) is eligible for replacement. Normal attrition does not include replacements that must occur due to a State or Local mandate. Proposals must include a detailed discussion of the fleet owner’s normal attrition schedule and must explain how the proposed emission reductions are not a result of vehicle/equipment replacements that would have occurred through normal attrition/fleet turnover within three years of the project start date.

-The existing school bus to be replaced must be an in-use diesel school bus model year 1995-2006 owned by any South Dakota public school district that directly provides transportation services. The replacement vehicle must be of the same type and similar gross vehicle weight rating or horsepower as the vehicle being replaced. Horsepower increases of more than 25% will require specific approval by EPA prior to purchase, and the applicant may have to pay the additional costs associated with the higher horsepower equipment. School Districts that have not received a replacement bus in previous rounds will have preference.

-The existing school bus being replaced will be scrapped or rendered permanently disabled within ninety (90) days of the replacement. Evidence of appropriate disposal (such as digital photos of the engine tag showing serial number, engine family number, and engine model year, vehicle identification number (VIN), and of the destroyed engine block and cut frame rails or other structural components) is required for rebate to be made. Drilling a three inch hole in the engine block and disabling the chassis is the preferred scrapping method. Other methods may be considered and will require prior EPA approval. Equipment and vehicle components that are not part of the engine or chassis may be salvaged from the unit being replaced (e.g. plow blades, shovels, seats, tires, etc.). If scrapped or salvaged vehicles/parts are to be sold, program income requirements apply.

-New school buses powered by an engine certified to a 2017 engine model year or newer, a 2017 engine model year or newer engine certified to meet CARB’s Low-NOx Standards, or an all-electric bus.

School Bus Replacement:

Preference will be given to school districts not receiving a bus replacement during previous rounds. Replacement eligibility of in-use diesel school buses is based on the model year of the school bus engine, where the oldest model year engine will be given preference.

Selected school districts will enter into a written agreement with DENR and rebates will be issued upon submittal of a Request for Reimbursement Form, evidence of final bus purchase price, a Certificate of Disposal Form, photographic evidence of disposal, and if requesting the 35% rebate, a copy of the engine certificate showing it meets CARB’s Low-NOx Standards. DENR reserves the right to do on-site verification.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176531

Estimated Size of Grant:

Total rebate per replacement bus will be up to 25% of the purchase price of a 2017 engine model year or newer engine certified to EPA emission stardards, 35% of the purchase price of a 2017 engine model year or newer engine certified to meet CARB’s Low-NOx Standards, or 45% of the purchase price of an all-electric bus.

Term of Contract:

School districts should receive the new bus by August 31, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any SD public school district that directly provides transportation services is eligible to participate. School districts which have not received a replacement bus in previous rounds will have preference.

Pre-Application Information:

Between $223,801 and $559,503 will be available for school bus replacements.

Round Ten rebate applications are due by 5:00 PM on December 15, 2017 .

Tentative Schedule for October 2017 - September 2018
-November 6, 2017: Call for Round Ten Projects Opens
-December 15, 2017: Call for Round Ten Projects Deadline
-December 18, 2017 - January 5, 2018: Evaluate & Select Round Ten Projects
-January 8, 2018: Announce Round Ten Awarded DERA Projects
-January 2018 - August 2018: Schools will purchase buses and DENR will award DOC projects for Round Ten
-September 2018: Deadline for all invoices and paperwork to be submitted to DENR for Round Ten

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Barbara Regynski, Program Administrator

Program Hotline: 1-800-GET-DENR (1-800-438-3367)

Clean Diesel Rebate Program
SD DENR – AQ Program
523 E Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: South Dakota