The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of 67 applicants to receive nearly $1 billion through EPA’s first Clean School Bus Program Grants Competition. The awards, which are made possible through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, will help selectees purchase over 2,700 clean school buses in 280 school districts serving over 7 million students across 37 states.

With this latest announcement, EPA’s Clean School Bus Program has awarded nearly $2 billion and funded approximately 5,000 electric and low-emission school buses nationwide.

Every school day, 25 million children ride our nation’s largest form of mass transit: the school bus. The vast majority of those buses run on diesel, exposing students, teachers, and bus drivers to toxic air pollution. Today, we are announcing nearly $1 billion to fund clean school buses across the nation. As part of our work to tackle the climate crisis, the historic funding we are announcing today is an investment in our children, their health, and their education. It also strengthens our economy by investing in American manufacturing and America’s workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris

Source: https://electricschoolbusinitiative.org/all-about-clean-school-bus-program

95% of the funded buses will be electric

In April 2023, EPA announced the availability of at least $400 million for its 2023 Clean School Bus Grants through a Notice of Funding Opportunity. The grant application period closed in August 2023 with an outstanding response from applicants seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses. Given the overwhelming demand and large number of high-scoring applications, including applicants in low-income communities, EPA has nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded this round to approximately $965 million.

These awards follow over $875 million obligated to new buses from the Clean School Bus Program’s 2022 Rebates, which funded the replacement of 2,366 buses at 372 school districts to further improve air quality in and around schools, advance environmental justice, reduce greenhouse gas pollution fueling the climate crisis, and accelerate America’s leadership in developing the clean vehicles of the future.

After an extensive review process, the EPA Clean School Bus Program has selected the Notice of Funding Opportunity’s top tier applicants to receive this historic investment in their community. Funds are slated to support the purchase of approximately 2,700 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to selectees in 37 states. Prioritized school districts in low-income, rural, and/or Tribal communities make up approximately 86% of the projects selected for funding.

EPA’s $5 billion Clean School Bus Program, created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, includes both a grant program where selected applicants are awarded funds to purchase buses, and a rebate program that allows selectees to receive awards before purchasing eligible buses that replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. Today’s Clean School Bus grants are the second round of selections announced for the newly created program. EPA will make more funds available for clean school buses in additional rounds of funding.

EPA is currently accepting applications for the 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program until January 31, 2024. EPA encourages applicants not selected for the 2023 Clean School Bus Grant Program – and those that did not apply – to participate in current and future funding rounds. Once the application period for the 2023 rebate program closes and the school districts selected are notified, school districts can proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. After the selectees submit the proper forms, they will be eligible to receive rebate funds. All selectees must submit a Utility Partnership Agreement to verify that the school district’s electric utility provider is aware of the school district’s rebate application.

Accelerating the transition to electric and low-emission school buses in America

“Every school day, 25 million children ride our nation’s largest form of mass transit: the school bus. The vast majority of those buses run on diesel, exposing students, teachers, and bus drivers to toxic air pollution,” said Vice President Kamala Harris. “Today, we are announcing nearly $1 billion to fund clean school buses across the nation. As part of our work to tackle the climate crisis, the historic funding we are announcing today is an investment in our children, their health, and their education. It also strengthens our economy by investing in American manufacturing and America’s workforce.”

“Today we’re once again accelerating the transition to electric and low-emission school buses in America, helping to secure a healthier future where all our children can breathe cleaner air,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I’ve sat next to students on their very first clean school bus ride and their excitement reflects the power of good policy. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, thousands more school buses will hit the road in school districts across the country, saving school districts money and improving air quality at the same time.” 

Highlights

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