Utah school districts can now apply for up to $2.3 million in grants to retrofit school buses so they'll use cleaner technology.

Buses eligible for fitting with pollution control devices are those built between 1993 and 2006 that run on diesel. Funding for the project is the result of a partnership that includes the Utah Division of Air Quality, which made the announcement Thursday.

The technology being used to reduce tailpipe emissions incorporates a diesel oxidation catalyst and closed crankcase ventilation systems. Work on retrofitting the vehicles is expected to begin in early 2009.

"Not only does the outside air receive the benefit of reduced pollutants, but the air children breathe on the bus will be cleaner as well," said DAQ director Cheryl Heying in a statement Thursday.

So far the federal Environmental Protection Agency is putting up $400,000 for the project, with $96,000 coming from DAQ, $100,000 from the 2008 Utah Legislature and $750,000 each from Salt Lake and Utah counties. The price for retrofitting per bus is about $2,000.