WASHINGTON (MAY 20, 2022) — This afternoon, Vice President Kamala Harris will join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to launch the new Clean School Bus Program to begin electrifying America’s school bus fleet. EPA released program guidance and officially opened the funding program’s application portal

The program, created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides a historic $5 billion in funding over the next five years to help school districts replace existing school buses with electric or alternative fuel buses, delivering cleaner air for children and communities across the U.S. 

The first round of the Clean School Bus Program funding will be awarded as lottery rebates, with eligible applicants invited to apply any time between May 20 and August 19. The lottery will prioritize applications from priority districts, those submitted by low-income, rural, tribal, and/or high-needs school districts. 

Toxic emissions from diesel school buses are dangerous for children, bus drivers and other school staff and increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Electric school buses, in addition to being safe and reliable with zero tailpipe emissions, are a highly visible and widely used mode of transportation that can help bring about a tipping point for electrifying vehicles in the medium-and-heavy-duty space and normalize electric mobility for an entire generation.  

Following is a statement from Jennifer Rennicks, Senior Manager, Government Affairs, WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative

“The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is an unprecedented and critical step in giving every child in the United States the opportunity to get to school without breathing in harmful exhaust. We cannot leave children behind in a fossil fuel-powered world, especially given the disproportionate effects that air pollution has on underserved and disadvantaged communities. 

“The long-standing commitment from Vice President Harris on this issue is an extraordinary testament to her efforts and this Administration’s pursuit of helping schools and communities join the transition to an electrified future. WRI applauds the EPA’s decision to prioritize funding for underserved districts. WRI looks forward to working with EPA to continue strengthening and improving the program for future rounds of funding. 

“This program is a critical step for the United States to address climate change, protect public health and reduce inequities in our transportation system. There is also a need for additional, continued funding for the Clean School Bus Program beyond the down payment made through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and WRI is supportive of an Appropriations request being led by Senators Padilla and Warnock and Representatives Cardenas and Hayes and supported by more than 80 of their colleagues to provide at least $300 million in additional funding in FY 2023 for the Clean School Bus Program. 

“Congress should complement this program by passing a robust climate and clean energy-focused budget package to unlock billions more in necessary funding for electrifying cars, trucks and buses — to realize cost savings from electric vehicles, create good-paying jobs and tackle America’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.”