Some students in Middlesex, Ocean and Monmouth counties soon will be riding on newer, more efficient school buses thanks to $555,000 in federal rebate funding earmarked for New Jersey.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded more than $9.3 million to replace older diesel school buses around the country, including four applicants in New Jersey.

The George Dapper bus company based in the Iselin section of Woodbridge, will get $200,000 in rebate funding to replace 10 school buses.

Toms River Regional Schools will get $200,000 in rebate funding to replace 10 school buses.

The Woodbridge and Toms River school districts also received rebate funds last year through the same program.

Wall Board of Education was selected to replace five school buses for a total rebate funding amount of $100,000.

North Brunswick Board of Education was selected to replace three school buses for a total rebate funding amount of $55,000.

The rebates were through EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding, which last year awarded a similar amount to replace 27 older school buses in New Jersey.

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

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 provide transportation for more than 25 million American children every school 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, according to the EPA.


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