LESB is an acronym for the Lower-Emission School Bus Program. The primary goal of the LESB is to reduce the exposure of school age children to cancer causing and smog forming air pollutants by funding projects that will achieve emission reductions from school buses. Eligible participants included public school districts, Joint Powers Authorities (JPA's), and private transportation companies who contract with public school districts to provide transportation services to students.
Why School Buses?
Currently mobile source emissions are major contributors to the potential cancer risk from air pollution. Long-term epidemiological studies of school age children conducted by Universities in Southern California indicate that nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter have much greater impacts on limiting lung growth in children than believed in the past. These pollutants include exhaust emissions from high emitting diesel-fueled school buses that contain smog forming pollutants and air toxics harmful to children.
As a result, the North Coast Unified Air Pollution Control District (District) adopted a Lower-Emission School Bus Incentive Program. Many older school buses have remained on the road and in service primarily because school districts lacked the necessary funds to replace them.
Using state and its own matching funds, the District has provided almost $3 million in incentives to public school districts for purchase of new low-emitting diesel buses or installation of diesel particulate trap filters. These filters as estimated to eliminate 85 percent or more of particulates in diesel exhaust.
LESB Grant Funding
Currently all applications received for the LESB Program have been evaluated and District staff has issued grant awards in Trinity, Del Norte and Humboldt counties. Those school districts who received grant awards must now submit a LESB Annual Report to the District on a yearly basis for the next five years.