Thousands of new clean, green and electric buses will soon be carrying kids to school thanks to a $1 billion boost in funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dozens of school districts, bus companies and other entities will use their share of the EPA’s first Clean School Bus Program Grants to purchase 2,700 low- and zero-emission buses. About 280 school districts serving over 7 million students across 37 states will benefit from the initiative, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, the EPA announced this week.
“We’re once again accelerating the transition to electric and low-emission school buses in America, helping to secure a healthier future where all our children can breathe cleaner air,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “I’ve sat next to students on their very first clean school bus ride and their excitement reflects the power of good policy.”
Among the biggest award winners are Boston Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, the Dekalb County School District, Los Angeles USD and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which each received about $20 million to upgrade their bus fleets.
Asthma and other conditions exacerbated by diesel bus emissions cause students to miss school, a problem that disproportionately affects communities of color and Tribal communities, the EPA says. The agency initially made $400 million in grants available but doubled the amount because of districts’ heavy demand for electric and low-emission vehicles.
In 2022, the EPA awarded schools over $875 million in Clean School Bus Program rebates, which allowed 372 school districts to replace 2,366 vehicles. The agency is accepting applications for the 2023 clean bus rebate program until Jan. 31.