SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Cleaner air could be coming to
There are over 2,800 school buses in the state of
Utah Moms for Clean Air President Cherise Udell told ABC 4 Utah, "As a mom, I often accompany my kids on field trips and that requires us to get on these very stinky, diesel buses and every time I get one I gag."
She's not exaggerating. Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, says studies show air pollution inside a diesel bus is worse than it is outside.
"A typical old school bus will have four times higher air pollution within the bus than exists in a car in front of the bus,” said Moench.
Getting the worst of those polluting buses off the streets is the aim of HB 41. The bill would pay for 170 new eclectic, bio-diesel or compressed natural gas buses and put $7 million towards alternative fuel infrastructure, such as CNG fueling stations.
It’s a big payout upfront, but the bills sponsor, Representative Steve Handy says the return on investment is huge.
"It's about $5,400 a bus according to the financial people at the State Office of Education,” said Rep. Handy. “It's a big deal in savings. So you have to spend more to get CNG bus, but the fuel savings going forward is tremendous."
It’s a savings the Jordan School District knows something about; its one of only three school districts in the state with CNG buses and because they have their own compressor and fueling station they save an average of $7,500 per bus, per year when compared to diesel.
Replacing an aging fleet is no small cost, but spending $20 million to get dozens of dirty diesel buses off the roads is something these lawmakers say pales in comparison to the money
Rep. Patrice Arent said, "The businesses we've lost, the tourists that don't want to come here, the significant health care costs - we're actually paying that."