EPA Awards $80K for Cleaner School Buses in Hawai‘i

May 2, 2019, 4:08 PM HST
Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio...

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded more than $9.3 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses with 2017 or newer buses. In Hawai‘i, one school bus fleet will receive rebates totaling $80,000 toward four cleaner buses.

Nationally, the funds are going to 145 school bus fleets in 43 states or territories, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.

Funding for the Hawai‘i school bus fleet was awarded to Roberts Hawai‘i School Bus Inc. in the amount of $80,000 to replace four model year 2005 school buses with 2017 or newer vehicles. These new school buses will operate for the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Education and transport children throughout Hawai‘i, Honolulu, Kaua‘i and Maui Counties.

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”

“Children are particularly susceptible to air pollution because their lungs are still developing,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “This funding will improve air quality for thousands of Hawai‘i students.”


Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the bus. Regional, state or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or private entities that operate school buses under contract with state, tribal or local agencies were eligible to apply.


Over the last seven years, EPA has awarded approximately $39 million in rebates to replace almost 2,000 school buses. Bus replacements funded through the rebate program reduce emissions and exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides for children at schools, bus stops, and on the buses themselves.

School buses travel over 4 billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90% cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems.


The 2018 DERA school bus rebate recipients can be found at


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments


Get a quick summary of what’s happening on the Big Island with our daily & weekly email of news highlights.