Aces electric school bus

Every school district in Connecticut has until August 19 to apply for federal funding to replace diesel school buses with zero-emission and low-emission school buses, officials have announced. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made $500 million in rebates available as a first round for this initiative, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Congress passed in 2021. 

According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the law authorized up to $5 billion to be used to purchase electric and clean school buses and associated charge infrastructure through the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. 

School districts that have been designated as a priority district by the EPA – based on poverty levels and rural or tribal status – may be able to obtain higher funding “potentially receiving a new electric school bus and associated charging infrastructure at no cost to your district,” according to the DEEP’s announcement.

To apply, districts must register at  SAM.GOV, and then plan for how they will bring the electric buses to their district, which may entail preparing a fleet inventory or conducting a site evaluation to determine electric vehicle charging station locations, officials said. The final step is to apply for the funding at the EPA’s website. 

According to the EPA, the benefits of electric school buses include zero tailpipe pollution, reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel school buses, and reduced maintenance costs. Further, there is potential for fleets to work with local utilities to feed power back into the grid when buses aren’t in use, according to the EPA’s website. 

The EPA says school buses powered by alternative fuels – such as natural gas and propane – will also mean reduced tailpipe pollution, cost and greenhouse emissions. 

For information about how to apply, go here