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ARB fines MV Transportation, Inc. subsidiary Vallejo Citizens Transit $388,000
$100,000 to go towards cleaning up school buses, protecting children’s health and ensuring home-to-school transportation in up-to-date fleets
The Air Resources Board has fined the Vallejo Citizens Transit Co., a subsidiary of Dallas, Texas-based MV Transportation, Inc., $387,750 for serious air quality violations that occurred when it was under contract for bus services to the City of Vallejo.
The Air Resources Board (ARB) began its investigation in 2010 when an informant alleged ongoing tampering of diesel particulate filters by the company. After conducting two inspections, ARB staff confirmed that the filters and back pressure sensors were tampered with on multiple diesel-powered buses owned by the City of Vallejo but serviced and operated under contract by Vallejo Citizens Transit Co. (VCTC). Investigators also discovered that VCTC’s maintenance personnel were using a power washer to clean the filters. This practice damages the filters by causing the accumulated soot and ash to harden and plug the filters leading to cracking and premature failure.
“This private business served the public and must be held accountable for its violation of the public’s trust,” said ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden. “Unfortunately, Vallejo Citizens Transit Co. and its parent company, MV Transportation, Inc., had to learn the hard way that it never pays to circumvent the law. Their blatant disregard for basic pollution prevention resulted in a significant penalty.”
VCTC violations included failing to:
- Properly maintain diesel particulate filters;
- Regularly self-inspect its diesel vehicles as required by state law;
- Comply with emission control label regulations, and
- Comply with urban bus emission reduction requirements.
During its initial efforts to settle the case, Air Resources Board staff met with VCTC representatives on several occasions but no agreement was reached, and the case was referred to the Office of the Attorney General for litigation in Solano County Superior Court. The case was settled through mediation on April 29, 2014.
Since the case began in 2010, the cities of Vallejo and Benicia merged their transit agencies, which are now doing business under a Joint Powers Authority as Sol-Trans. To bring its transit fleet back into compliance, the City of Vallejo purchased and installed new diesel particulate filters and also replaced some buses. The city ended its contract with VCTC in mid-2013 and the company has since dissolved, although MV Transportation, Inc., continues to operate subsidiaries in 29 states.
As outlined in the settlement agreement, VCTC paid $290,000 to ARB’s Air Pollution Control Fund to support air quality research. The company also paid $97,750 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District School Bus Supplemental Environmental Project. These funds will be used to retrofit older school buses with diesel particulate filters so that they are in compliance with the state’s Truck and Bus Regulation.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.