USA invests a billion dollars in thousands more electric school buses
Almost a billion dollars is being made available by the US government to provide 5,000 electric buses for school districts across the country.
It’s the latest initiative in the Clean School Bus Program, which is committed to improving the health of students and school pupils through the provision of cleaner, more sustainable transport to and from school.
Administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the programme is providing $5 billion over five years between 2022 and 2026. This latest round of funding will benefit almost 70 applicants nationwide that have applied for grants.
‘Cleaner, more sustainable transport’
The Pacific North West States of Washington and Oregon are two states that will welcome another new fleet of clean and green buses – 144 in total – worth over $51 million.
Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington, said: “We are thrilled by the announcement – we’ve seen tremendous benefits to our kids’ physical and mental health. Not only do we see fewer asthma attacks because of electric buses, we also see calmer, happier kids because they no longer have to shout to hear each other over noisy diesel engines.”
His words were echoed by Tina Kotek, Governor of Oregon, who said: “Students across the state rely on school buses to get them to and from school safely every day. The Clean School Bus grants will make those buses cleaner for more students. The grants will improve air quality to protect the health of our students and aid in our efforts to combat climate change in Oregon.”
‘Children are most at risk’
Casey Sixkiller, administrator for EPA Region 10 which covers the Washington and Oregon states, said: “EPA is proud to partner with local school districts to bring electric school buses and cleaner air to communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Children are most at risk for respiratory illnesses caused by diesel particulates so helping electrify school bus fleets is an investment in our kids’ health and their future.
“Any action we can take to reduce the incidence of asthma and other health issues children experience is the right thing to do.”
The EPA says the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from all of these new buses will also help to ‘address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis’. The Clean School Bus Program will, it adds, ‘benefit school districts as they upgrade to cost saving and fuel-efficient school bus fleets, by replacing existing buses with brand new zero-emission and clean school buses and freeing up needed resources for schools’.
Created by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the programme includes both a grant programme where selected applicants are awarded funds to purchase buses and a rebate programme that allows selectees to receive awards before purchasing eligible buses that replaces existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models.
These latest grants are the second round of selections, and EPA will make more funds available for clean school buses in additional rounds of funding.