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DALLAS, TEXAS (Nov. 2, 2022) — Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and three members of the North Texas congressional delegation gathered yesterday to celebrate DISD’s funding through EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. The district will receive $7.1 million to fund the purchase of up to 25 zero-emission electric buses.

“We are thrilled Dallas ISD was selected for the first round of funding through EPA’s new Clean School Bus program and President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Regional Administrator Earthea Nance. “The new, zero-emission buses will protect school children and staff, reduce pollution and help improve air quality, all while saving the district money.”

“We are grateful to EPA for making these funds available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to our congressional delegation for their support,” said DISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde. “I can’t wait to see these buses rolling down our streets, making the air cleaner for our students immediately, as well as for the future.”

“I am pleased to learn that Dallas ISD has been selected for participation in the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, a groundbreaking initiative that will provide $7 million in funding for 25 new electric school buses. Once fully implemented, students will ride buses that are healthier for the environment—and in turn, healthier for them,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.

“This is great news for Dallas schools and shows how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver and how North Texas school districts can lead the nation in the adoption of this technology,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “I am a graduate of Dallas public schools, and I took the bus when I was growing up, so I know how important this service is for families. I was glad to join the EPA this summer in urging our schools to apply for this funding and I am proud that Dallas ISD will receive 25 clean, pollution-free electric school buses.”

“Today’s funding will provide a critical investment to climate security and children’s futures here in North Texas,” said Rep. Veasey. “Last year, I was proud to vote for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that made this accomplishment possible by ensuring our communities have the tools to switch dirty diesel-powered buses to zero-emissions electric buses.”

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.

Last week, EPA announced the selection of 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.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

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