Alexandria, VA (April 22, 2013) – The American School Bus Council (ASBC) announced today that it will present its first two School Bus Champion Awards to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Utah at a ceremony in Congressional Meeting Room North of the Capitol Visitors Center within the U.S. Capitol on April 25th, from 8:45 to 9:30 AM.
The School Bus Champion Award is a new recognition program launched by ASBC to recognize individuals and entities who have displayed exceptional support for and advancement of the school bus industry. Award recipients will include those whose leadership has produced demonstrable positive outcomes for the communities they serve, as well as the industry as a whole.
The EPA will be recognized in honor of the 10-year anniversary of its highly successful Clean School Bus Program, which has been enormously effective in working to reduce emissions from the nation’s fleet of yellow buses. It is the only federal program that provides even modest funding for the almost half million school buses that transport 25 million children to and from school every day. The program began as a bi-partisan demonstration program and has since become part of a Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program that affects all diesel vehicles and equipment. While the program is much broader today than just school buses, the yellow school bus is still a major part of the program. Just this year, EPA launched a clean school bus rebate program using $2 million in DERA funding that went to 30 school systems around the country to help buy new, cleaner buses. EPA has said they could have awarded $70 million in rebates based on the applications they received. Mr. Chris Grundler, Director, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, will receive the award on behalf of the EPA.
The State of Utah is perhaps the best example of the effectiveness of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. Utah leveraged more than $6M in EPA grant funding and state matching funds to retrofit more than 1,200 buses state-wide. The improvements made to the buses have significantly improved air quality, which is a daily benefit to children in Utah who wait for and ride the bus, as well as the State as a whole through emissions reductions on active, as well as idling school buses. Murrell Martin, the State Director of Transportation, will accept the award on behalf of Utah.
Future School Bus Champion Awards will be presented at industry events around the country. Each awardee will stand out in their advocacy for pupil transportation and prove to be leaders in at least one of the following categories: safety, access to education, environmental benefits / stewardship, and community impact. The next award will be presented at the Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference in Mobile, AL in July. The award itself is a bronze-colored hand-cast metal school bus mounted on a walnut base that is inscribed to recognize the honoree(s).
ASBC is a coalition of public and private transportation providers, school bus manufacturers and state officials responsible for pupil transportation. It publicizes the safety, environmental, and access to education benefits of the iconic yellow school bus. The Council’s members include NAPT (National Association for Pupil Transportation), NASDPTS (National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services), NSTA (National School Transportation Association), Blue Bird Corp. of Fort Valley, Ga., IC Corporation of Lisle, Ill., and Thomas Built Buses of High Point, N.C.