Historic investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law headed to all 50 states in effort to transform America’s school bus fleet
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding nearly $94,970,000 from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 29 school districts in American Samoa, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The grants will help these school districts across our nation’s Pacific Southwest purchase over 283 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.
“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”
Today’s announcement includes funding for infrastructure and for 250 electric buses for school districts in: Pago Pago, American Samoa; Mesa, Mohave Valley, Phoenix, and Teec Nos Pos, all in Arizona; Compton, Lakeside, Modesto, Montebello, and Stockton, all in California ; and Honolulu, Hawaii, to name a few in the Pacific Southwest.
- American Samoa will receive $395,000 to procure an electric school bus for the American Samoa Department Of Education.
- Arizona will receive $11,415,00 to procure 52 school buses for 8 school districts, of which more than 51% are electric school buses.
- California will receive $68,295,000 to procure 177 electric school buses for 21 school districts, all of which are electric school buses.
- Hawaii will receive $4,990,000 to procure 25 buses for the Hawaii Department of Education, of which 80% are electric school buses.
- Nevada will receive $9,875,000 to procure 25 school buses for the Clark County School District.
“We’re keeping Arizona children safe through cleaner and more reliable school transportation – giving peace of mind to Arizona parents knowing that their children are safe in these newer, safer buses,” said Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).
“Traveling long distances, some tribal students spend hours on a school bus each day, many of which are outdated, breaking down, and extremely costly to operate during high gas price periods,” said U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (AZ). “I was proud to vote in favor of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to secure funding for new, energy efficient school buses for tribal communities, and pleased to see these incentives reach tribal school districts in Arizona.”
“I’m proud to see our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law making a difference right here in Mesa, said U.S. Representative Greg Stanton (AZ). “When we invest in our sustainable infrastructure, those dollars not only make a difference in the health of our roads and bridges, but they also make a difference in the health of our community. This funding will transform Mesa Unified School District’s school bus fleet, helping keep the air our children breathe cleaner by curbing harmful emissions.”
“I have been proud to help lead the charge to transition our nation’s school bus fleet to zero- and low-emission models,” said Senator Alex Padilla (CA). “Success in the classroom starts before children even get to school. Unfortunately, far too many children in working-class communities—like the one I grew up in—are forced to inhale harmful emissions from outdated diesel buses on the way to school. Today’s announcement is a significant investment in modernizing school buses in some of the communities with the poorest air quality. If we are serious about improving public education and public health, then clean school buses are a must.”
“When we passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, I was proud that it included significant investments in clean energy, which I have long fought for,” said U.S. Representative Jerry McNerney (CA). “This rebate is a key incentive for school districts to move away from gas guzzling, high emissions transportation and I am pleased that Stockton Unified is helping to lead the way on this endeavor. Our region has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the nation due to poor air quality and transitioning to more emissions-free buses will help us to combat this issue. I congratulate Stockton Unified on this well-deserved award.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the tremendous potential for the Infrastructure Law to reduce environmental and public health disparities in communities like Compton,” said U.S. Representative Nanette Barragán (CA). “For years, residents have suffered from high levels of air pollution, causing high rates of asthma and one of the worst life expectancies in Los Angeles County. Democrats in Congress fought to include the Clean School Bus program investments in the Infrastructure Law to reduce these harmful emissions and prevent long-term diseases. Investing in clean transportation options for school children while lowering air pollution will improve the health of our neighbors in Compton and communities beyond.”
“I know what it feels like growing up with childhood asthma, being more worried about my inhaler than my homework. This announcement is a huge step forward toward saving a whole generation of Modesto kids from that same experience,” said U.S. Representative Josh Harder (CA). “By electrifying our buses, we’re ensuring our kids breathe cleaner air each morning, saving hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars each year, and doing our part to fight climate change. It’s a win-win-win and I couldn’t be prouder that it’s happening right here in our community.”
“I am thrilled that The Lion Electric Co. won this grant and will be able to serve students more efficiently in our district, said U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (CA). This critical federal funding will build a cleaner, healthier, and more connected district. I was proud to vote in favor of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and am pleased to see its benefits already making an impact in our neighborhoods. This landmark investment in low-emission transportation, accessible public transit, and other green energy solutions will transform cities and states across the country. I look forward to seeing more clean energy transportation options in our district and am pleased that our students and their families will benefit from this award.”
“I am thrilled to see that our local communities are receiving critical funding that I advocated for in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said U.S. Representative Dr. Raul Ruiz (CA). “With this investment, we will help local students get to school safely with new zero-emission and low-emission buses that will help protect our environment and health. Together, we are building resilient communities, a stronger economy, and a healthier future for our children and generations to come.”
“I’m pleased that El Centro Elementary School District will receive $790,000 from the EPA as part of the Clean School Bus Rebate Program,” said U.S. Representative Juan Vargas (CA). “We’re taking important steps to reduce pollution in my district with these crucial funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I’m proud to have voted for historic climate investments that made this program possible, and I look forward to continuing working with the EPA to ensure that we do all we can to address the climate crisis in our community and across our nation.”
“Updating our school bus fleet with electric vehicles is critical as Hawaii moves to clean, renewable energy,” said Senator Mazie Hirono (HI). “This funding, made possible by the bipartisan infrastructure law, will bolster Hawaii’s transition to electric vehicles while reducing the health risks of traditional diesel-burning buses to our keiki. I’ll continue working to support projects like this that strengthen Hawaii’s leadership in the transition to a clean energy future.”
“These buses will help more kids in Hawai‘i safely get to school without breathing harmful pollutants, make our roads cleaner and quieter, and help us transition to a clean economy,” said Senator Brian Schatz (HI).
“This award marks yet another way that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to invest in Hawai‘i,” said U.S. Representative Ed Case (HI). “These funds are an important next step for our schools and transportation network in the continuing effort to transition to a clean energy future.”25 buses purchased 20 will be zero emissions electric school buses. Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities across the state.
“Transportation is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions across Nevada and drives disproportionate pollution burdens for historically marginalized communities,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “Thanks to this $9.875 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clark County School District will be able to adopt 25 electric school buses into its fleet, and we will move closer to our goals to reduce our carbon footprint, improve air quality and better protect the health of our schoolchildren and families living in Nevada’s most vulnerable communities.”
“I’m proud to announce Clark County Schools will receive nearly $10 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that I helped write and pass,” said Senator Jacky Rosen (NV). “This critical funding will invest in our schools’ transportation system while decreasing our carbon footprint.”
“As we continue on the path toward a clean economy, clean transportation is a key piece of the puzzle. This funding for clean school buses right here in southern Nevada will reduce pollution in our air while reducing health risks for our children,” said U.S. Representative Susie Lee (NV). “I’m proud to have voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make this funding a reality, and I will continue to work to ensure that we create a cleaner, more sustainable future for our children.”
In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.
At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.
Those school districts who received an award can now 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. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.
These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.
About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program
The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.
The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.
A list of nationwide Clean School Bus award recipients are available on EPA’s Awarded Clean School Bus Program Rebates webpage.
For more information on the $500 million for low and zero-emission school buses see the Biden-Harris Administration Makes $500 Million Available for Clean School Buses Through EPA press release.
For more information on the announced funding see EPA’s Biden-Harris Administration Will Double Clean School Bus Rebate Awards to Nearly $1 Billion press release.
For more information on the Justice40 Initiative see the White House’s Justice40 webpage.
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