The Atlantic City School District and the Bridgeton City School District have something to celebrate: Both were announced as being recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program rebate competition.
Under the program, Atlantic City will receive $1,525,000 and Bridgeton will receive $790,000, according to the list of recipients.
Nationwide, more than $900 million has been awarded to 389 school districts that participated in the competition, with money coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure law. The grants will help school districts purchase over 2,400 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.
Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan recently joined schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, to announce the grant recipients and to highlight how the program is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving schools money, and better protecting children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing and create good-paying jobs.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating the nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for children, Regan said. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day … This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”
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 with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.
At this time, through a lottery system, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support 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., along with 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, and 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 the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which 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 – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.