USA: EPA funds over 3,000 electric school buses

As part of its Clean Bus Rebate Program, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded nearly $900 million to 530 school districts nationwide. The money will pay for more than 3,400 new school buses, most of which are electric.

It is the third round of funding via the programme, including grants and rebates. The EPA says 67 per cent of the funding available went to 45 per cent of the selected projects. That is because the initiative prioritises school districts in low-income, rural, and Tribal communities.

The EPA actually earmarked twice as much cash than initially planned. It first announced the rebate competition and the availability of 500 million dollars in rebates. Since the interest was “overwhelming,” including from school districts “from low-income communities, Tribal nations and US territories, the EPA doubled the initial amount of available funding in this round to a total of nearly $1 billion. 

The EPA Clean School Bus Program is part of US President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It aims to help fund the transformation of the nation’s fleet of school buses. The money can be used for electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.

The EPA also points out that it has already awarded almost 2.7 billion dollars to more than 1,270 school districts, funding 8,535 new clean school buses. It does not mention how many of these are electric, but it must be almost all of them.

In the previous funding round, the EPA also awarded nearly one billion dollars for clean school buses and their infrastructure. The funds will be used to subsidise the purchase of around 2,700 buses in 280 school districts in 37 states, 95 per cent of which will be electric. Moreover, in March, the US state of New York said it received 77 million dollars in federal grants for the renewal of its school bus fleet. 61.1 million dollars came from the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program.

“With today’s latest round of funding, we are transforming the nation’s school bus fleet to better protect our most precious cargo—our kids—saving school districts money, improving air quality, and bolstering American manufacturing all at the same time,” says EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson adds: “This initiative ensures that children have a cleaner, safer, and more efficient means of school transportation and contributes to protecting our environment. By making meaningful progress and offering valuable opportunities for our students, we are paving the way toward stronger student success.” (announcement), (total awards)


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