- Over 2,700 electric and low-emission vehicles are headed to 280 school districts across 37 states.
- Ditching diesel for electric buses looks to protect the health of 7 million children, especially in low-income and rural communities.
- Grants aim to ease the financial hurdles for school districts making the switch.
Billion-dollar EPA initiative fuels clean school buses nationwide
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ushered in the new year with a groundbreaking initiative. It’s investing $1 billion in grants to shift school bus fleets from diesel to electric and low-emission vehicles. This pivotal move responds to mounting evidence linking diesel emissions to elevated rates of asthma, cancer, and school absenteeism.
The allocated funds will empower 280 school districts, catering to 7 million children. 86% will serve low-income, rural, and tribal communities disproportionately burdened by heightened air pollution risks.
EPA administrator, Michael Regan, said;
“Today we’re once again accelerating the transition to electric and low-emission school buses in America, helping to secure a healthier future where all our children can breathe cleaner air.”
Diesel emissions are tied to increased rates of asthma, cancer, and school absenteeism. Low-income neighbourhoods bear the brunt of heightened air pollution.
According to the EPA, a staggering 86% of grant recipients hail from school districts catering to low-income, rural, and tribal communities. This injection of new funds brings the total to nearly $2 billion, facilitating the addition of approximately 5,000 clean buses to schools nationwide. Originating from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, which earmarked $5 billion over five years to provide schools with clean buses, this programme aligns with a comprehensive federal strategy directing 40% of investments towards environmental justice communities.
Despite the urgent need, many school districts can’t foot the bill to ditch diesel without state or federal aid. The initial upfront costs of electric buses and charging infrastructure demand serious backing. That’s why voices like Republican senators from New York are rallying for full funding commitment to make the switch happen.
In the race towards a greener future, the electrification of school buses stands as a bold leap. With a billion-dollar boost and a growing call for full funding commitment, the wheels are in motion for a nationwide shift. Picture a tomorrow where every school district, regardless of its financial constraints, cruises into sustainability, leaving diesel behind.