The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) is replacing over 2,400 school buses for cleaner emissions, and the year-one rebate is only the start.
With nearly $1 billion in funding, which was increased from the original announcement of $500 million due to increased demand, 389 school districts spanning all 50 states, Washington D.C., and several Tribes and U.S. territories were announced Wednesday.
The total funding amount of funding available for this rebate program is $965 million. The rebate application closed in August. Through a lottery, the agency selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 school buses, 95 percent of which will be electric. However, the EPA stated that more applicants are under review and the agency plans to select more districts to reach the full $965 million available in the coming weeks.
“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,” stated 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.”
School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and or Tribal students make up 99 percent of the projects that were selected. Priority districts include those listed in the U.S. Census Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates School Districts Estimates for 2022. These districts have 20 percent or more students living in poverty and are receiving higher rebate amounts as a result.
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“Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure,” the EPA stated. “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 are the first awards of the five-year, $5 billion program created by the Infrastructure Law. The EPA stated that another round of funding will launch in the coming months and include an “ambitious grant competition.”
Through future rounds of funding, the EPA said it will make another $1 Billion available in fiscal year 2023.