AQ Programs

​DEQ's diesel school bus replacement program

In January 2018, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) selected school districts to receive grant funding to support the replacement or retrofit of specific buses within their district's fleet using a randomized selection process. DEQ notified the districts of their eligibility and made several attempts to recruit those districts to participate in this grant program. In order to meet the Legislative directive, DEQ must begin moving grant awards from districts who have not participated in the program, to date, to those that were not awarded under the randomized award process. DEQ understands there may be economic impacts from COVID-19 that affect districts' ability to participate in this grant program. Because of this, DEQ has changed the allowable length of grant agreements from 1 year to 3 years for project completion, which should allow districts to complete their projects at the best time for the district.

Beginning October 1, 2020 DEQ will open the Diesel grant program to all previously non-selected school districts to award the unused allotments.

Under the diesel grant program, school districts have the option to install diesel particulate filters or to scrap and replace buses in their fleet. Buses selected for replacement must have at least three years of remaining useful life, have operated in Oregon in the past year and will continue to operate in Oregon for at least the three years following. The assistance amount offered is up to 100 percent of costs to purchase and install exhaust controls, or up to $50,000 or 30 percent of replacement costs, whichever is less, to purchase an Oregon minimum standard bus to replace the bus that is scrapped. 

DEQ will prioritize grants to districts, who haven't previously participated in the program, on a first come-first served basis until the program goal of 450 diesel powered school buses are met.

Grants will be awarded to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis upon DEQ's receipt of a completed application to In order for an application to be considered complete, a district will:

  1. Submit a complete application which will include the following items:
    1. A valid DUNS number. The Dun & Bradstreet D‑U‑N‑S Number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses.
    2. Register DUNS at federal website System for Award Management (SAM) . The DUNS number must be publically viewable on this webpage.
    3. Signature
  2. Provide fleet information for eligible diesel fueled school buses, vehicle model year 2002-2007 that will be retrofitted or replaced.
  3. Buses selected for retrofit or replacement must have at least three years of remaining useful life, have operated in Oregon in the past year and will continue to operate in Oregon for at least the three years following.
  4. Cost estimates from vendor

Applicants that submit an incomplete application will be given 10 business days to provide DEQ with the information requested, or may be given an extension to respond on a case-by-case basis.

DEQ has staff ready to assist you with the application process and answer questions. Please contact us at 503-229-5159 or if you have any questions or need assistance.

The State of Oregon is eligible to receive at least $72.9 million as a beneficiary of the VW partial consent decree to support eligible pollution mitigation projects outlined in Appendix D of the decree. The Oregon Legislature authorized DEQ to accept funds from the settlement into the Clean Diesel Engine Fund (ORS 468A.801). DEQ is authorized to fund school bus projects that reduce harmful diesel emissions in the first phase of the ten-year period.

On May 17, 2017, Volkswagen Group of America settled with the United States for violations of the Clean Air Act. The settlement awarded funds to States to mitigate the increased air pollution resulting from VW's diesel vehicles. Oregon received settlement funds, and on August 15, 2017, the Oregon Legislature directed DEQ to support the retrofit or replacement of at least 450 school buses statewide with these funds, within the scope of the VW Mitigation Trust.

The plan for Oregon is to treat 450 diesel powered school buses with strategies like exhaust control retrofitting or bus replacement. DEQ expects to complete about one quarter of the buses per year. School districts were selected to participate with 2005, 2006, and 2007 vehicle model year buses. School districts with buses in these model years, as necessary to reach the 450 bus target, have been contacted to determine their interest and capability to participate. DEQ contacted districts based on a random draw of numbers assigned to districts with buses within this contingent. This approach will help manage administrative costs and minimize the replacement bubble as these buses eventually age out of the fleet 10-15 years in the future.

Legal documents

In December 2017, Oregon DEQ posted the proposal for an environmental mitigation plan for public comment and review. The proposed plan has three main goals:

  • Maximize benefits for vulnerable populations;
  • Prioritize pollution reduction in areas of the state with the highest emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from diesel engines; and
  • Maximize pollution reduction cost effectiveness.

The plan was published for public review and comment with public hearings in January 2018. The summary pf public comments and responses to comment are posted below.