The Environmental Protection Agency announced the second round of available Clean School Bus funding, this time for $400 million in grants for school districts and fleet contractors to purchase vehicles that reduce harmful pollution.
The grants are funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which set aside a total of $5 billion to transform the country’s school bus fleet. This round follows last year’s $1 billion in rebates to fund electric and low-emission school buses.
“Today we’re taking another key step toward reducing climate pollution and building a healthier future where all of our children have the clean, breathable air that they deserve,” said Michael S. Regan, EPA administrator. “President (Joe) Biden’s Investing in America agenda is already transforming school bus fleets across the nation, passing on cost savings to districts while improving air quality. With new grant funding available, we will accelerate our work to transition to electric and low-emission school buses further and faster than ever before.”
Clean School Bus Grant: A New Opportunity
The new grant opportunity will fund electric, propane, and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses that produce zero or low tailpipe emissions compared to diesel predecessors.
The EPA is prioritizing applications for replacement buses in high-need areas, in tribal school districts, and rural areas. The agency also expressed commitment in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. Large school districts with communities of concentrated poverty also are prioritized if the proposal focuses on clean school buses serving those communities.
Who Can Apply?
Eligible applicants include:
- State and local government entities that provide bus service.
- Public charter school districts.
- Tribes or tribally controlled schools.
- Nonprofit school transportation associations.
- Eligible contractors (including OEMs, dealers, school bus service providers, and private bus fleets).
Applicants have two options:
- For a single school district, apply through the school district sub-program to request between 15 and 50 school buses.
- For at least four school districts, apply through the third-party sub-program to request between 50 and 100 buses.
Prioritized applicants will receive combined funding to cover both bus and infrastructure costs for up to $395,000 per vehicle. Non-prioritized applicants that are selected will receive up to $250,000 per vehicle. The EPA expects to establish between 25 and 50 cooperative agreements, subject to the availability of funds, the quantity and quality of applications received, agency priorities, and other applicable considerations, according to the funding opportunity announcement.
Important Dates Ahead
The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 22, 2023. Selectees are expected to be notified between November 2023 and January 2024, with awards distributed in February and March 2024. The first information session about the grant program is planned for May 10, 2023, at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Got questions? Reach out to the EPA at [email protected]. The deadline for submitting questions via email to the EPA about this funding opportunity is Aug. 9, 2023.
Originally posted on School Bus Fleet