EPA Announces $50 Million in Clean School Bus Funding for School Districts in Texas
Historic investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law headed to all 50 states in effort to transform America’s school bus fleet
The Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding $50,980,000 from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Texas school districts. The grants will help 13 school districts purchase 144 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.
Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.
“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.”
“I’m proud of the $6,225,000 in federal funds awarded to Houston Independent School District (HISD) to invest in 25 new school buses,” said Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. “These funds were only made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I was proud to support this law in Congress because I knew it would benefit students right here in our community. This will improve our local environment and allow HISD students to enjoy 15 brand-new electric buses as they continue their education. These are the great results that happen when we put people over politics.”
“Congratulations Houston ISD for being awarded $6,225,000 as part of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate program funded by the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Taking steps to make our school buses greener while remaining safe and effective is not only imperative for the wellbeing of students and bus drivers, but also for the public at large,” said Congressman Al Green. “I applaud this announcement by the EPA under President Biden’s leadership. I look forward to seeing the positive impact that this outstanding award to purchase electric and propane school buses will have on reducing our carbon footprint.”
“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.”
“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 $7.6 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.
“Because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for which I was the only elected official in our region to vote, Socorro ISD will be receiving a historic investment to modernize their bus fleet, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and limit exposure to harmful diesel emissions for our students, teachers, and staff,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. “In March of this year, I had the privilege of hosting EPA Regional Administrator for Region 6, Dr. Earthea Nance, to brief El Paso superintendents on the Clean School Buses Program and how to apply. For years, federal grant programs have failed to reach underserved communities. That’s why I am so proud to see the funding Democrats worked so hard to secure in the hands of the El Paso community.”
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.
Below is a list of the school districts and total funding:
- Dallas ISD received $7,625,000
- Socorro ISD received $9,875,000
- North Hopkins ISD received $790,000
- Wolfe City ISD received $1,185,000
- Queen City ISD received $1,975,000
- Kilgore ISD received $1,580,000
- Cushing ISD received $790,000
- Martinsville ISD received $1,580,000
- Killeen ISD received $9,875,000
- Houston ISD received $6,225,000
- Matagorda ISD received $790,000
- Refugio ISD received $1,185,000
- San Felipe-Del Rio CISD received $7,505,000
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.