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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2732

   To provide grants for use by rural local educational agencies in 
                      purchasing new school buses.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 22, 2004

   Mr. Reid introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
       referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To provide grants for use by rural local educational agencies in 
                      purchasing new school buses.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Bus Utility and Safety in School 
Transportation Opportunity and Purchasing Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) school transportation issues have concerned parents, 
        local educational agencies, lawmakers, the National Highway 
        Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation 
        Safety Board, and the Environmental Protection Agency for 
        years;
            (2) millions of children face potential future health 
        problems because of exposure to noxious fumes emitted from 
        older school buses;
            (3) the Environmental Protection Agency established the 
        Clean School Bus USA program to replace 129,000 of the oldest 
        diesel buses that cannot be retrofitted in an effort to help 
        children and the environment by improving air quality;
            (4) unfortunately, many rural local educational agencies 
        are unable to participate in that program because of the 
        specialized fuels needed to sustain a clean bus fleet;
            (5) many rural local educational agencies are operating 
        outdated, unsafe school buses that are failing inspection 
        because of automotive flaws, resulting in a depletion of school 
        bus fleets of the local educational agencies; and
            (6) many rural local educational agencies are unable to 
        afford to buy newer, safer buses.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to establish within the 
Environmental Protection Agency a Federal cost-sharing program to 
assist rural local educational agencies with older, unsafe school bus 
fleets in purchasing newer, safer school buses.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
            (2) Rural local educational agency.--The term ``rural local 
        educational agency'' means a local educational agency, as 
        defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801), with respect to which--
                    (A) each county in which a school served by the 
                local educational agency is located has a total 
                population density of fewer than 10 persons per square 
                mile;
                    (B) all schools served by the local educational 
                agency are designated with a school locale code of 7 or 
                8, as determined by the Secretary of Education; or
                    (C) all schools served by the local educational 
                agency have been designated, by official action taken 
                by the legislature of the State in which the local 
                educational agency is located, as rural schools for 
                purposes relating to the provision of educational 
                services to students in the State.
            (3) School bus.--The term ``school bus'' means a vehicle 
        the primary purpose of which is to transport students to and 
        from school or school activities.

SEC. 4. GRANT PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--From amounts made available under subsection (e) 
for a fiscal year, the Administrator shall provide grants, on a 
competitive basis, to rural local educational agencies to pay the 
Federal share of the cost of purchasing new school buses.
    (b) Application.--
            (1) In general.--Each rural local educational agency that 
        seeks to receive a grant under this Act shall submit to the 
        Administrator for approval an application at such time, in such 
        manner, and accompanied by such information (in addition to 
        information required under paragraph (2)) as the Administrator 
        may require.
            (2) Contents.--Each application submitted under paragraph 
        (1) shall include--
                    (A) documentation that, of the total number of 
                school buses operated by the rural local educational 
                agency, not less than 50 percent of the school buses 
                are in need of repair or replacement;
                    (B) documentation of the number of miles that each 
                school bus operated by the rural local educational 
                agency traveled in the most recent 9-month academic 
                year;
                    (C) documentation that the rural local educational 
                agency is operating with a reduced fleet of school 
                buses;
                    (D) a resolution from the rural local educational 
                agency that--
                            (i) authorizes the application of the rural 
                        local educational agency for a grant under this 
                        Act; and
                            (ii) describes the dedication of the rural 
                        local educational agency to school bus 
                        replacement programs and school transportation 
                        needs (including the number of new school buses 
                        needed by the rural local educational agency); 
                        and
                    (E) an assurance that the rural local educational 
                agency will pay the non-Federal share of the cost of 
                the purchase of new school buses under this Act from 
                non-Federal sources.
    (c) Priority.--
            (1) In general.--In providing grants under this Act, the 
        Administrator shall give priority to rural local educational 
        agencies that, as determined by the Administrator--
                    (A) are transporting students in a bus manufactured 
                before 1977;
                    (B) have a grossly depleted fleet of school buses; 
                or
                    (C) serve a school that is required, under section 
                1116(b)(1)(E) of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
                Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6316(b)(1)(E)), to provide 
                transportation to students to enable the students to 
                transfer to another public school served by the rural 
                local educational agency.
    (d) Payments; Federal Share.--
            (1) Payments.--The Administrator shall pay to each rural 
        local educational agency having an application approved under 
        this section the Federal share described in paragraph (2) of 
        the cost of purchasing such number of new school buses as is 
        specified in the approved application.
            (2) Federal share.--The Federal share of the cost of 
        purchasing a new school bus under this Act shall be 75 percent.
    (e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this Act--
            (1) $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2005; and
            (2) such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 
        2006 through 2010.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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