The US Government has announced nearly doubling the budget for clean school buses this fiscal year. The federal Environmental Protection Agency () said the decision followed “overwhelming” demand, with school districts from all 50 states applying for the 2022 .
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EPA said it received around 2,000 applications requesting nearly $4 billion for over 12,000 buses. More than 90 per cent of the buses requested were zero-emission electric buses. Almost 9 per cent of applications were for propane buses, and 1 per cent were for compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
In May, EPA granted $500 million through the Clean School Bus rebate scheme. Due to the overwhelming demand, the Agency now increased the funding awarded to $965 million.
The new funding is part of the EPA Clean School Bus Program, which the administration’screated with a $5 billion budget for low- and zero-emission school buses over the next five years.
As for the current round, the Agency said they would move swiftly to review applications submitted and expects to issue a robust slate of awards next month. The 2022 funding call prioritises low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, says EPA, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most.
Those states and districts who have not applied in this round are encouraged to watch out for future funding rounds. EPA will make another $1 billion for clean school buses available in the Fiscal Year 2023.
“We’re working across all 50 states to accelerate the transition to a future where clean, zero-emissions school buses are the American standard,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “America’s school districts delivered this message loud and clear – we must replace older, dirty diesel school buses.”
In America, about 25 million schoolchildren take a school bus every day. Across the US, various states have launched additional funding programs for, with national industry solutions following suit.
Update 27 October 2022:
After the US government nearly doubled its budget for funding mainly electric school buses in the current year about a fortnight ago, the recipients of the funding have now been announced. 913 million of the $965 million released for 2022 will go to 389 school districts in every state, supporting the purchase of a total of 2,463 “clean” school buses, 95 per cent of which will be electric, as well as the procurement of the infrastructure to support them.
The school districts that have now received a commitment can now proceed with the procurement procedure. In the coming weeks, more recipients will be selected for the remaining budget.
epa.gov, epa.gov (update)