FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2022
EPA Now Accepting School District Applications for Billion-Dollar Clean School Bus Program
Mothers Out Front Fairfax Calls on Virginia School Districts to Apply Now to Invest in Cleaner & Healthier Electric School Buses
Fairfax VA — Yesterday, at the beautiful new LEED Gold Certified, net-zero-ready Meridian High School in Falls Church City, the U.S. EPA announced the opening of its historic billion-dollar Clean School Bus Program. Mothers Out Front Fairfax was in attendance to celebrate the program, which will help school districts replace polluting diesel buses with zero-tailpipe-emission electric school buses.
Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan were joined by Congressman Gerry Connolly VA-11; Congressman Don Beyer VA-8; Valerie Hardy, Secondary Head of Schools at Falls Church City Public Schools; and a Falls Church 8th grade student to announce the program’s opening.
Falls Church City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan said, “What a great event and honor for Falls Church City Public Schools to host Vice President Harris and EPA Administrator Regan to share our great new sustainable high school. We look forward to continuing our work as a division around sustainability and turning over our diesel bus fleet in the next decade.”
School districts can apply now to receive a rebate — delivered to the manufacturer or dealer before the district pays — that will cover the full cost or price differential of a new electric school bus, with a limit of 25 new school buses per district. From $13,000 to $20,000 in additional funding will also be awarded for school districts to purchase electric school bus charging stations.
Using a randomized lottery, the EPA will award up to $500 million in funding this year, with an additional $4.5 billion available for school bus replacements in the next four years. School districts on the EPA’s list of High-Need, Tribal and Rural School Districts will be given priority in the lottery, as well as receive a higher level of rebate funding, and cover the full cost of replacement buses if requested.
Mothers Out Front is committed to seeing more of the Commonwealth’s school districts transition to zero-emission electric models that will clean up the air children (and bus drivers) breathe on their way to and from school, and is calling on school districts to apply for this funding.
Mothers Out Front Fairfax has been working within Fairfax and state-wide to push for the full transition of Virginia’s diesel bus fleet to electric since 2019. In 2020, MOFF was involved in Fairfax County Public Schools’ commitment to transitioning the 1,625-bus FCPS fleet to electric by 2035. In the 2021 Virginia legislative session, MOFF worked with Delegate Mark Keam to pass the first-ever state-wide grant fund and program for electric school buses.
“The opening of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program represents an important nationwide opportunity for school districts to obtain funding for zero tailpipe emission electric buses. As parents and caregivers, we prioritize the health of our children and their communities,” said Katie Henderson, a mother and volunteer with Mothers Out Front Fairfax.
“We can and must do better than diesel and propane school buses, especially in areas with low air quality and communities of color,” Henderson added. “We are happy to see the EPA working toward an equitable program with the creation of a priority list of school districts which will have the ability to apply for rebates of up to the full cost of the electric school buses and chargers.”
To be entered into the Clean School Bus Program rebate lottery, school districts must have active System for Award Management (sam.gov) and login.gov accounts for their entities and fill out a one-page online application found on the EPA website. School districts will need to provide VINs and model years for the older buses to be replaced.
The deadline for applications is August 19, 2022. Throughout the application period, EPA will host a number of informational webinars and is accepting questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. The EPA will announce rebate recipients in October. School districts that are interested in applying are encouraged to contact their electric utility immediately to begin planning their electric school bus charging needs.
The Clean School Bus Program was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in 2021. As a member of the Alliance for Electric School Buses, a national coalition of not-for-profit organizations committed to the equitable electrification of the nation’s school bus fleet, Mothers Out Front has advocated for federal funding for zero-emission, electric school buses since 2019.
Over 20 million U.S. children ride nearly 500,000 school buses, most of which run on diesel, whose exhaust is a known carcinogen that can lead to or worsen respiratory illnesses like asthma. Low-income students and Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and students of color are more likely to ride in school buses and be exposed to harmful pollution. Advocates throughout the country are calling for a full transition to zero-emission school buses that won’t pollute the air our children and communities breathe.
For more information on the Clean School Bus Program, visit https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/. School districts can also receive technical assistance through the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative.