The National School Transportation Association reported that a coaltion of associations in favor Congress reauthorizing the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act have recently stepped up lobbying efforts.
The DERA Coalition consists of associations like NAPT, NASDPTS, NSTA and the United Motorcoach Association plus clean air groups and companies nationwide such as Blue Bird, Cummins, Donaldson, Navistar and Thomas Built Buses.
Earlier this year the coalition requested $100 million for DERA and $309.1 million for state and local air quality grants under the Clean Air Act in fiscal year 2011. The EPA announced last week that its National Clean Diesel Campaign would award only $60 million next year. Applications are currently being accepted.
The coalition has been on Capitol Hill for the last month meeting with House and Senate members regarding proposed changes like requiring that the EPA streamline the grant application process, provide a priority for grant applications affecting schools and allow private companies under contract to federal, state or local governmental agencies to apply directly for funds rather than to have to go through governmental or nonprofit entity.
NSTA encouraged its members contact their elected representatives to urge support for the reauthorization bill. NSTA added that the coalition is working with Sens. George Voinovich and Thomas Carper to introduce the bill during the current congressional lame duck session. However, NSTA said "the prospects for completing the bill this Congress are extremely remote."
"Our assumption is that the House will only take this up if and when the Senate acts, so the most helpful calls would be to contact your Senators to ask that they support Senator Voinovich and Carper’s efforts on the DERA reauthorization bill," NSTA's communique concluded.