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EPA grant to help Long Island school buses go electric

A federal grant, combined with a nonprofit’s award, will enable Nassau and Suffolk each to replace one diesel school bus with an electric model and retrofit a total of 66, officials said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said its $246,000 award will reduce harmful pollution and improve air quality.

The EPA gave the award to the Alexandria, Va.-based National School Transportation Authority. The nonprofit also is contributing $206,500, the EPA said.

A new electric bus costs $310,000.

The nonprofit is partnering with a private bus company, The Trans Group, which ferries students for one Suffolk school district, Copiague.

It also transports pupils in 6 Nassau school districts — Farmingdale, Bethpage, Amityville, Wantagh, Massapequa, and Seaford, the EPA said.

The EPA grant also will help buy “idle-reduction” heaters, which each cost $2,364, the agency said.

Keeping engines warm enables drivers to easily restart them so they no longer have to keep them idling while waiting.

The EPA did not detail the program’s exact timing, noting instead that the grant is funded through September 30, 2019.

Exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses and can worsen existing heart and lung disease, especially in children and the elderly, the EPA statement said.

The new or retrofitted buses will cut about 11 tons of nitrogen oxides and about two tons of fine particles in the two counties.

“This grant program is a perfect example of how EPA’s grants incentivize public and private entities alike to invest in innovative technology that not only produces environmental benefits but also boosts business,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez in a statement.

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