Nevada Law Boosts Funds for Electric School Buses & Infrastructure

Driver's cockpit in an electric school bus.
Legislation promises to put school districts in the driver’s seat with incentives for purchasing new electric school buses or infrastructure.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed legislation that extends a higher rate of reimbursement to school districts for purchasing electric school buses or adding electric vehicle infrastructure.

Senate Bill 299 allows school districts to receive 75 percent of the cost of a new electric school bus, or 75 percent of the cost of installing electric vehicle infrastructure. The law goes into effect on July 1 of this year and expires on Dec. 31, 2025.

Existing law created the Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program, which requires public utilities to submit an annual plan that outlines incentives to customers for installing or providing electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Diana Hollander, state director of student transportation at the Nevada Department of Education, told School Transportation News that the result may be that school districts consider purchasing all-electric school buses. Prior to the new law, the incremental cost was prohibitive, she added.

The cost of large electric school buses can be over three times that of a comparable diesel bus.

“[S]chool districts seem reluctant to purchase electric school buses and seem to have a wait-and-see attitude, as this is a big step and big unknown for school districts that must be frugal with taxpayer dollars,” she explained. “I think in the next couple of years it will happen.”

Senate Bill 299 was introduced on March 18, passed the Senate a month later and was approved by the Assembly on May 16. The Senate enrolled the bill days later and sent it on to Gov. Sisolak, who signed it before the Memorial Weekend.