2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants Available for Tribal and Insular Area Government Agencies

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Transportation and Air Quality is soliciting applications for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions. Eligible entities include tribal governments (or intertribal consortia) and Alaska Native villages, and insular area government agencies, which have jurisdiction over transportation or air quality.A total of approximately $4.5 million will be made available to tribal governments (or intertribal consortia) and Alaska Native villages, and approximately $500,000 will be made available to insular area governments.Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment may include buses.

EPA’s ten regional offices will manage the awards. The number and size of cooperative agreements made under this announcement, and the amounts for the two categories identified above, are subject to the availability of funds, the quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations.

Please visit https://www.epa.gov/dera/tribal for questions and answers and additional details about the following information sessions:

Funding Opportunity Information Sessions
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (ET)

For more information view: 2021 Dera Tribal Insular Area Grants (PDF)(86 pp, 2 MB) or contact the EPA to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem.

Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA): 2021 Request for Grant Applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is excited to announce the availability of approximately $46 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 70 awards are anticipated.

Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, or port authorities, with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

Visit the DERA National Grants Web Page for Application and Eligibility Information

Informational Webinars: Request for Applications 2021 DERA National Grants

Tuesday, January 26, 2021; 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 863 530 573#

Wednesday, February 3, 2021; 3:00-4:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 609 539 899#

Thursday, February 11, 2021; 2:00-3:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 451 189 144#

Webinar Highlights:

  • Program Details
  • Changes This Year
  • Eligible Entities, Projects, Vehicles, Engines & Equipment
  • Funding: Availability, Project Funding Percentage, Restrictions
  • Proposal Submission
  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Potential Pitfalls
  • Tools, Resources and Support
  • Question & Answer Period

Visit the DERA National Grants Web Page for Application and Eligibility Information

If you have questions, please contact DERA@epa.gov.

School Bus Purchase Program Applications Open Nov. 1st to 25th

The Maine Department of Education is accepting applications to receive subsidy for new school buses purchased through the School Bus Purchase Program.  The application period is November 1 through November 25, 2020.

The Department will be able to approve about $9 million in school bus allocations that combines new bus requests and the prior year bus term commitment.  Round one applications will be accepted for school buses proposed to be purchased during fiscal year 2021-2022.  This program provides subsidy to school administrative units (SAUs) in order to offset partial costs of new school buses that are used to transport students to and from home and school and school events.  This program is a resource to help SAUs purchase new school buses, retire end of life school buses, and respond to emergency and special bus needs.  Eligible vehicles must meet Code of Maine Regulations Chapter 85 minimum qualifications, with the exception of Section 3.1.

The School Bus Purchase Program instructions and information are available on the Maine DOE’s NEO dashboard. To fill out an application, you must log in to NEO.  For more information or technical assistance, please contact Pat Hinckley at 207-624-6886 or email pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

Students, Parents, and Schools Celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Week Oct. 19-23

Nationally, while school buses are the gold standard of safety and considered the Titans of Transportation, school bus drivers are the heroes of safety that go above and beyond the call of duty as they deliver the most precious cargo – our students.

Locally, parents, students, teachers, and superintendents celebrate National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by showing appreciation for school bus drivers that build local community, make special deliveries, arrive in early hours, help students in need, focus on safety, and more.  School staff and parents make special cards, deliver special snacks, talk with drivers about how much their commitment to student safety means to families, schools, and the community, and learn about a day in the life of a school bus driver. School district transportation directors celebrate National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by providing driver safety training at the district. This is a time for celebrating school bus drivers.

Historically, Maine schools celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Week during National School Bus Safety Week which occurs annually during the third week in October. It is a time for Mainers to reflect upon the outstanding job performance of our school bus drivers who transport students to and from school and school related events throughout the year traveling over 30 million miles of urban and rural roads. In Maine about 80 percent of students ride the school bus which is much higher than the national average of 50 percent.

We welcome you to share stories about your Maine school bus driver heroes of safety on the Maine DOE social media on Facebook @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 and/or Twitter @mdoenews.  Here are some historic examples of Maine school bus driver heroes of safety:

School bus drivers receive extensive driver and safety training to provide the essential service of school transportation. They are responsible for conserving the comfort, safety, and welfare of students they transport. Should a critical incident occur that requires student relocation, school bus drivers will be called on to deliver students to a safe haven.

For information about school transportation policy contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

For information about how to become a school bus driver contact the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) http://www.maptme.org/

Maine Schools Join Others Around the Nation to Recognize 2020 National School Bus Safety Week October 19-23 

2020 National School Bus Safety Week theme: Red Lights Mean Stop!  The theme is derived from the Poster Contest the year before. The 2019 winning poster, depicted above, was drawn by Bryan Torres-Tavarez, a 12th Grader at Stars Academy in Paterson, NJ. 

National School Bus Safety Week, scheduled October 19-23 this year, is a public education program that acknowledges the value of school bus safety.  It is also a great time to THANK our bus drivers for the important work that they do.  

Transportation is a great equalizer in education, providing students from all economic backgrounds with the opportunity to learn and succeed. NHTSA believes school buses should be as safe as possible. That’s why NHTSA safety standards for school buses are above and beyond those for regular buses.  School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road.  

School buses are different by design.  They are designed and engineered so that they’re highly visible and include safety features such as flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors and stop-sign arms. They also include protective seating, high crush standards, and rollover protection features. 

In Maine, each school bus must be inspected biannually by an official inspection station designated by the Chief of the State Police as a school bus inspection station.  In addition, a school bus inspection must be conducted by the State Police at least annually.  That is three a year. 

School buses are protected by law.  Laws protect students who are getting off and on a school bus by making it illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach.   

In Maine, school bus safety laws support good driving behavior. These laws include: 

  • Passing a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing is a criminal violation punishable by a $250 minimum fine for the first offense and a mandatory 30-day license suspension for the second offense occurring within three years of the first offense. 
  • A vehicle may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the bus operator that it is okay to proceed. 
  • A school bus operator who observes someone illegally passing a stopped school bus can report violations to a law enforcement officer.  
  • School buses are required to stop at railroad crossings. 
  • Unless otherwise posted, the school zone speed limit is 15 miles per hour during school opening or closing hours, as well as recess. 

More information about National School Bus Safety Week can be found here: https://www.napt.org/nsbsw 

For information about school transportation policy contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov 

The National School Bus Safety Week public education program is sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), National School Transportation Association (NSTA), National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), Pupil Transportation Safety Institute (PTSI) and school bus manufacturers and suppliers.