Santa Monica Lookout
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More than $1 Million in Grants to Pay for Santa Monica Fire Department, Bus System Purchases
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
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Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

November 23, 2016 -- A total of nearly $1.1 million in grants will help the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) better prepare for a “large-scale” emergency and upgrade the Big Blue Bus system's compressed natural gas (CNG) engines.

The SMFD will use $200,000 in U.S. Homeland Security funds to purchase two heart monitor defibrillators, six first-responder portable radios, a radio remote microphones, radio batteries and radio battery chargers with the funding, a report to the City Council said.

“This equipment improves the Fire Department’s emergency medical response equipment cache and communications reliability,” the report said. “This equipment purchase also would strengthen response and communication capabilities throughout the region.”

The Fire Department received the grant in 2015, according to the report. The City Council gave its formal approval Tuesday as part of the council’s consent agenda, which is reserved for routine matters.

The money is coming to SMFD via the State Homeland Security Grant Program, which is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in U.S. Homeland Security. The County of Los Angeles administers the grant program, the report said.

The City of Santa Monica has directly received more than $4 million in Department of Homeland Security no-match grant funds since 2001, the report said.

The SHSGP program provides no-match grant funding for updating the State's Homeland Security strategy, and helping local governments help prevent and respond to threats and/or incidents of terrorism.

City officials this week also announced that the Big Blue Bus will receive $870,000 from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s (MSRC) Near Zero Engine Incentive Program to upgrade the agency’s CNG engines, which will "further reduce emissions and extend the lifespan of its vehicles."

The grant will pay for 58 new Cummins-Westport engines that are the first mid-range engines in North America to receive emission certifications from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB).

The new near-zero NOx gas engines will be installed in 12 to 18 buses a year over a period of three to four years, BBB officials said.

The new grant comes after Santa Monica's bus system was awarded $5.9 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in June 2015 to purchase nine new CNG buses.

The new buses and upgraded engines will help reduce the agency's current nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by more than 90 percent in 2018 ("Santa Monica Considers 'New Generation' of Bus Engines," August 4, 2016).

“The funding provided by the FTA will strengthen BBB’s vigorous pursuit of sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, in virtually every facet of our operations,” said Ed King, Director of Transit Services for Big Blue Bus.

“It will also enable us to make long-term investments in new technologies that ensure the efficiency of service to our customers and the future scalability of the agency.”

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