(NASHVILLE) – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced that six schools districts in Senate District 12, represented by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), will receive over $1 million total in grant funding to support school bus replacement projects. Today, State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) congratulated the six grant recipients in his district and praised the program for the value it will bring to rural communities.

“This program will not only help reduce harmful emissions to the environment but will also help protect our students,” said Yager. “I am pleased these six school systems in my district will be receiving the School Bus Replacement Grant from TDEC. I congratulate the great work of elected officials and local leaders for securing these competitive grants, and I was glad to support their applications.”

The grants will provide financial assistance to grantees to replace a minimum of one eligible school bus with any new diesel, alternate-fueled, or all-electric school bus. The grant recipients in Senate District 12 are: 

·         Campbell County School System to receive up to $42,000.00 to cover 50% of the cost to replace one eligible school bus (engine model year 2009 or older) with a new diesel school bus;

·         Fentress County Board of Education to receive up to $146,916.00 to cover 75% of the cost to replace two eligible school buses with new diesel school buses;

·         Morgan County Board of Education to receive up to $139,350.00 to cover 75% of the cost to replace two eligible school buses with new diesel school buses;

·         Oneida Special School District to receive up to $371,250.00 to cover 75% of the cost to replace three eligible school buses with new compressed natural gas school buses;

·         Roane County Board of Education to receive up to $55,246.50 to cover 50% of the cost to replace one eligible school bus with a new diesel school bus; and

·         Scott County School District to receive up to $247,500.00 to cover 75% of the cost to replace two eligible school buses with new compressed natural gas school buses.

This is the state’s first grant program funded by the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Settlement EMT). The purpose of the EMT is to execute environmental mitigation projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other air pollutants that threaten public health and the environment.

Of the school buses funded by this program across the state, 27 will operate 70 percent or more of the time in former nonattainment areas for ozone and/or fine particulates (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards; 44 will operate in economically distressed counties, defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission as those counties that rank among the 10 percent most economically distressed counties in the nation based on a three-year average unemployment rate, per capita market income, and poverty rate.

“I also want to thank Governor Bill Lee for his continued dedication to investing in rural areas across the state. It is initiatives like these that can go a long way to improve rural communities,” added Yager.

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