California school districts operate almost sixteen thousand school buses. The average bus is over fifteen years old but many are much older. A thousand don’t have the padded seat backs, warning lights, and rollover protections required by a 1977 federal law. Almost five thousand are diesel buses that don’t meet state standards for small particle emissions.
Poochigian says his bill will change all that.
"The bill would mandate that these buses be taken not only off the road but that they be also destroyed so they don’t pose danger to anyone else thru any other use."
Poochigian says his bill would use fifty million dollars a year in tobacco tax funds to pay for replacement buses.
The senator says there is no opposition to his bill, but there is conflict between natural gas advocates and backers of so-called “Clean Diesel” to get the replacement contracts.