State Grant Given to Kutztown, Pa. Bus Line for Clean Diesel Coaches

State Grant Given to Kutztown, Pa. Bus Line for Clean Diesel Coaches-Image by Motor-Head via Flickr

Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and Steven G. Haddad, president of Carl R. Bieber, Inc., of Kutztown, announced today that a $235,000 state grant will help the commercial bus line operator replace four old, inefficient motor coaches with newer models that can run on homegrown fuels and will emit less pollution.

Hanger said the company’s decision to invest in new buses is good for the environment and the company’s bottom line because the newer models will use less fuel, thereby reducing air emissions and fuel costs.

Bieber estimates that the new 2010 MCI motor coaches—which can also operate on ultra-low sulfur diesel and biodiesel, unlike the buses being replaced—will get up to two more miles per gallon, which could save the company between $107,000 and $125,000 during the life span of each bus. Using less fuel and the cleaner diesel options are expected to cut emissions of particulate matter by 3.6 tons per year, sulfur dioxide by 3.3 tons per year, and nitrogen oxides by 45.5 tons per year.

“Bieber has a long history of serving southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Hanger, who noted that the company operates urban bus services between Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery and York counties. “The company’s decision to purchase cleaner-running, more fuel-efficient buses is good news for a region in which there is a very real need to improve air quality.”

The secretary explained the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated the eight counties in which Bieber operates as “nonattainment” areas for ozone, fine particulate matter or both. A “nonattainment” designation means air quality in the region does not meet federal standards.

Because of the environmental benefits the new buses offer, Hanger said, the Department of Environmental Protection is awarding Bieber a Clean Diesel Program grant of $235,300. The company will invest another $1.86 million to purchase the new buses.

The program’s goal is to improve air quality by decreasing emissions from diesel-powered transit bus fleets that operate predominantly in Berks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. The program supports projects that re-power or retrofit fleet vehicles to curb emissions; purchase and install idle-reduction technology; or purchase clean alternative fuel fleet vehicles.

“These buses will have a measurable impact on the region’s air quality by emitting fewer pollutants that contribute to ozone, which contributes to smog, or that can cause serious heart and respiratory ailments,” Hanger added.

Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, industry, homes and power plants “bakes” in the hot sun, making it hard for some people to breathe.

Fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair. These particles can get deep into the lungs and can cause significant health problems. PM 2.5 has been determined to be most closely associated with health effects related to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and disease, and decreased lung function.

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Media contact: John Repetz, 717-787-1323

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