WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement of $500 million being available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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 that Carper helped secure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The announcement also follows a recent visit by EPA Administrator Michael Regan to Delaware, where he and Carper toured Teen Warehouse, a facility in Wilmington, to learn about a program helping local teens learn more about electric vehicle technology and develop the skills needed to fill future electric vehicle jobs.
“Every dollar we invest in clean school buses means cleaner air, healthier students, and a brighter future for our nation. That’s exactly why we fought to include historic funding for electric and other zero-emitting clean school buses in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, targeting schools that serve our most vulnerable children,” said Senator Carper. “For those of us who have spent years working to clean up our nation’s school buses, we know there are millions of dirty buses that need replacing, especially in our most disadvantaged communities. Today’s announcement represents real potential progress in terms of cleaner air for all and a better economy. American-made clean school buses are good for communities, good for our economy, and good for our planet—a true win-win-win. I intend to do all I can to help school districts across Delaware seize this opportunity to help clean up the school buses in our state.”
“This historic investment under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will forever transform school bus fleets across the United States,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These funding opportunities to replace older, heavily-polluting buses will result in healthier air for many of the 25 million American children who rely on school buses, many of whom live in overburdened and underserved communities. Today we take a major step toward a future where clean, zero-emissions school buses are the American standard.”
MORE ON THE CLEAN SCHOOL BUS PROGRAM
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 in 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 in all aspects of the agency’s work. In addition, EPA will focus education and outreach efforts on 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.