In addition to billions of dollars available from the federal and state government for electric school buses, the latest round of California Volkswagen Mitigation Trust funds is launching to provide another $65 million to student transporters in the San Joaquin Valley.
The second installment of the $130 million California Mitigation Trust opens on Oct. 31 and is administered by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) to fund the statewide purchase of zero-emissions school buses, transit buses, and shuttle buses.
The three vehicle types represent 57 percent of the nearly $77.3 million that was awarded statewide from May 6, 2020, through Sept. 8 of this year. It is the largest share of all eligible modes. School buses, alone, have benefitted from $30.9 million in funding.
But many school districts have been unable to secure money through the program due to demand.
A spokeswoman for the California Air Resources Board, which partners with SJVPCD as well as other state air quality districts on the program, said releasing the second round of funding now rather than later addresses an oversubscription of school district grant applications since January 2020. Those school districts that have been unable to secure funding can now resubmit their applications. Additionally, the spokeswoman said the funding allows more time for school bus delivery once awards are made.
CNG, diesel, gasoline or propane school buses to be replaced must have engines that are 2006 model year or older. The vehicles to be replaced must be scrapped. School districts can apply for up to $3.25 million per Tax ID. One application must be submitted for each bus to be replaced.
Applications are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be considered for funding if eligible and while project funds are available. School districts can receive up to $400,000 per bus that is 2006 model year or older. Newer buses to be replaced are eligible for up to $380,000.
The funds are in addition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean School Bus Program, which is awarding $60 million to 21 California school districts out of nearly $1 billion available with the year-one rebate. California school districts can also apply for a separate $1.5 billion in one-time Proposition 98 funds that was included in the recently passed state budget windfall for student transportation.
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