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NEW YORK (October 26, 2022) – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding $69,620,000 from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 22 school districts in New York. The rebates will help school districts receive 184 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero-emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.
Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.
“Today’s historic investment will put 184 clean school buses on the streets of New York, ensuring clean, breathable air that all children in this state deserve,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This is an investment in our future, and thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, New York and our Region is leading the pack in upgrading its school bus fleet.
“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, as the wheels of the new, electric school busses go round and round, carbon emissions and pollution is gonna keep going down and down,” said Senator Schumer. “Over $69 million will supercharge our efforts to fight climate change and power over 180 brand new electric buses to keep our air clean, kids safe and our communities healthy. I am proud to deliver this tremendous environmental justice investment that will put our students on the road to a brighter future and a cleaner commute.”
“I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their steadfast commitment to fighting climate change, reducing emissions, and helping schools improve air quality by adding more clean buses to their fleets and on our streets,” said New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. “This significant investment will support New York’s aggressive climate goals and complement the ongoing work to protect communities by requiring all new school bus purchases be zero-emissions by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero-emissions by 2035. The impact of the steps we take now to reduce emissions and work toward our Climate Act goals will protect New York’s children today and tomorrow.”
Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for school districts in several New York cities. That includes Accord, Boiceville, and New York City. The Rondout Valley Central School District in Accord will receive nearly $10 million to purchase 25 clean school buses. With almost $9 million, Onteora Central School District in Boiceville will purchase 21 clean school buses, and New York City school districts will receive a combined 50 clean school buses with nearly $18 million.
In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August. That’s with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.
At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million. That amount supports the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Not to mention several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review. Moreover, the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.
Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. 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 awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months. Moreover, it will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates to participate in future rounds. That also goes for those that did not apply this funding cycle.
The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health. They also cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students and bus drivers. Even school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day.
The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets. Moreover, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.
The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. Moreover, the vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria. Therefore, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure. Specifically for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.
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