By Malia Ching, November 25, 2022
Earlier this summer, we wrote about applications being open for the Clean School Bus Program. Now, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced who got awarded – and school districts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are on the list!
What’s the Clean School Bus Program?
This past summer, the EPA announced its five-year, $5 billion Clean School Bus Program, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The funds will go towards replacing school buses with cleaner versions across the country. In this round of funding, certain districts were designated as “prioritized.” These school districts must meet at least one of the following criteria: deemed high-need or low-income; rural; funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs; receive basic support payments under section 7703(b)(1) of Title 20 for children residing on Indian land.
Demand Was Overwhelming
The EPA awarded almost $1 billion ($913.132 million to be exact) for clean school buses. This amount is nearly double the $500 million that was initially announced when the applications opened in the summer. More applicants are currently being considered to reach the full $965 million allocated for this round in the end. So far, 389 school districts from all 50 states (including Washington DC, federally recognized tribes, and US territories) have been awarded funding.
As the application numbers show, the demand for clean school buses was overwhelming. In this first round of funding, the EPA received around 2,000 applications requesting almost $4 billion for 12,000 school buses. For context, there are about 480,000 school buses in the nation – and right now only about 1% are electric.