While the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impact on the Nation (TRAIN) Act recently passed the House but likely won't become law, upcoming funding authorizations for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) are in danger under House rules approved earlier this year to offset new authorizations by reducing other programs that are currently authorized and funded.
The TRAIN Act, H.R. 2401, would require reductions in some of EPA's Clean Air regulations, and DERA is one of the few EPA programs that meet the offset criteria. EPA's Clean School Bus USA program rolled up under DERA two years ago. NSTA wrote members last week that the program is vulnerable to future cuts even if the Senate passes the TRAIN Act as is.
The House passed its version of the bill on Sept. 23. The cost of the TRAIN Act would require DERA be reduced by $4.5 million in fiscal year 2012 and by another $500,000 in fiscal year 2013, which could make it ever more difficult for school bus to compete against the commercial trucking industry.
NSTA pointed out, the new DERA authorization level would still be more than the $30 million appropriated in fiscal year 2012. But the final version of the TRAIN Act would likely change in order to pass the Senate, and President Obama has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk. Still, NSTA said DERA will continue to be a target for offsets.
The association added that members of the DERA Coalition were reaching out to committee and House leadership to seek a change in the offset rule to make DERA less vulnerable in the future.