EPA Announces $500 Million for Clean School Buses for New England School Districts
President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Creates New EPA Program to Protect Children's Health, Reduce Pollution, and Boost American Manufacturing
BOSTON (May 20, 2022) — This morning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe joined City of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and other local officials to announce that the Biden-Harris Administration is making $500 million available through EPA for school districts and other eligible school bus operators and contractors to begin replacing the nation's fleet of school buses with clean, American-made, zero-emission buses. This $500 million represents the first round of funding out of the unprecedented $5 billion investment for low and zero-emission school buses over the next five years, secured through President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Deputy Administrator McCabe and Mayor Wu visited New Mission High School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas pollution, provide cleaner air around schools and communities, 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. The new funding is made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invests an unprecedented $5 billion for low- and zero-emission school buses over the next five years.
"EPA is grateful that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is providing funding for communities to speed up the transition to clean, low- and zero-emission school buses. These funds will make a real and lasting difference for everyone, especially kids who live in disadvantaged communities who are often the most vulnerable to the impacts of poor air quality and the effects of our changing climate. Investing in a new generation of school buses makes good sense for protecting peoples' health, combatting the climate crisis, and for improving air quality everywhere," said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe.
"This new funding can make a big impact here in New England where we have elevated levels of childhood asthma. I urge all eligible school districts to apply," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Over the next five years, this program will deliver $5 billion to school districts to improve our bus fleets and improve health and safety for our kids and communities."
"Today, we are taking an all-hands on deck approach," said City of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. "We can't ask another generation of students to wait and endure what falls short of their potential. We are committed to improving every BPS facility as quickly as possible, and as effectively and efficiently as we can. We are making these investments in our buildings, students, and communities, and will partner with the EPA to do even more."
Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that hurt our communities and cause students to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. New, zero-emission and low-emission buses will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but produce cleaner air for students, bus drivers, school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities that the buses drive through each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector on fueling climate change. In addition, zero-emission buses cost less for school districts to operate than diesel buses, and the electricity stored in zero-emission school buses can transmit energy back to the grid to meet extra energy demand or provide energy to communities during power outages.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allows EPA to prioritize applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, Tribal Schools, and rural areas. This approach supports President Biden's Justice40 initiative to direct at least 40% of the benefits of certain government investments to underserved communities. EPA's Clean School Bus Program will strive to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of our work. In addition, EPA will focus education and outreach efforts to underserved communities, including partnering with stakeholders to reach communities that may have never applied for a Federal grant or rebate. Portions of the rebates can also be used to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure so that schools can make chargers available for the new buses. The rebate program will select awardees through a lottery system.
EPA is accepting applications from May 20, 2022 until August 19, 2022. Questions about applying may be directed to CleanSchoolBus@epa.gov.
This is the first competition that EPA is running through the Clean School Bus program. The Agency will also launch a grant competition later this year. Further Clean School Bus competitions funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be run every year over the next five years.
To learn more about the rebate programs, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, visit www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus