State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
(916) 445-7827

221 East Daily Drive, Suite 7
Camarillo, CA 93010
(805) 987-5195


Assemblyman, Thirty-Seventh District

    Vice Chairman
    Revenue & Taxation

    International Trade
        & Development
    Consumer Protection
        Governmental Efficiency
        & Economic Development

March 25, 1998
CONTACT: Mark F. Dodd
(805) 987-5195

Hueneme School District to Receive
Safe, Clean-Powered Buses

Port Hueneme -- Assemblyman Nao Takasugi (R-Oxnard) announced that the Hueneme School District will receive three of the 49 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to be ordered in April by the California Energy Commission for use by California schools. These buses could be on the road as early as this fall.

The buses are part of phase four of the state's $100 million Safe School Bus Clean Fuel Efficiency Demonstration Program. Local educational agencies in Northern California will receive 27 of the buses; their counterparts in Southern California will receive 22.

"The district's new CNG buses will replace three diesel buses that have been on the road for too long, " said Assemblyman Takasugi. "Since transportation encroaches on the general fund by at least $100,000 a year, the safe, clean-fueled buses will give the district financial flexibility to take care of the instructional needs of 8,300 elementary and junior high school students in the Port Hueneme and South Oxnard area. " To expedite delivery of the buses, the Port Hueneme-based district has made a voluntary contribution of $30,000 for the bus purchase.

The all-CNG school bus purchase is the first for the program which has ordered a combination of diesel, methanol and CNG powered buses for the previous phases. Phase four also marks the first time that local educational agencies have contributed voluntary matching funds of $610,000 to help defray the $6.6 million price tag for the buses. The CNG buses are expected to be delivered between October and December this year.

The safe school bus program was made possible by a bill authored by former Van Nuys Assemblyman Richard Katz. It has purchased a total of 777 energy-efficient buses to help rid the air of pollutants, while saving energy bills and promoting the use of state-of-the-art safety features in school buses.

The program allows school districts throughout California to upgrade their fleets in a cost effective manner and diversify their transportation fuels. It has replaced buses built before 1977 when the federal government passed Motor Vehicle Safety standards.

Phase four of the program will benefit 18 more local educational agencies, bringing to 183 the total of recipient jurisdictions across California.

Safety features of the buses to be built by Bluebird Bus Company of Atlanta, Georgia, with engines from John Deere Company, include: fully-padded flame retardant seats, natural gas leak detectors, automatic fire suppression systems, automatic parking brakes, anti-lock braking systems, four emergency exits plus two roof vents and a transit style design to enhance driver visibility.

Phase one of the program purchased 163 buses - 103 high-efficiency diesel, 50 methanol powered buses and 10 CNG buses distributed to 14 school districts and consortiums. Phase two buses numbered 400 - 200 high-efficiency diesel, 100 methanol and 100 natural gas-powered buses that went to 47 school districts. Phase 3 deliveries included 107 natural gas, 107 advanced diesel and four electric powered buses.

The Energy Commission said since its inception in 1988, the Katz safe school bus program has displaced more than 12 million gallons of petroleum fuel. Low air emissions from the natural gas engines used in the program have resulted in greatly reduced hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide pollutants and have created a market for heavy-duty natural gas engines for school bus use.

# # #

For further information, contact:

Dr. Jeff Baarstad, Associate Superintendent,
Hueneme School District, (805) 488-3588

Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director,
California Energy Commission (916) 654-4989

Information on the safe schools bus program is available on the Commission's Web Site at

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