Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan have announced 391 rebate awards totaling nearly $1 billion from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through EPA’s Clean School Bus Program – the first installment of the $5 billion total that will be awarded over five years.
The awards will go to school districts in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in addition to several U.S. territories and institutions serving federally recognized Tribes. The new awards will support the purchase of 2,463 buses, and 95% of these buses will be electric.
At this time, through a lottery system, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million. 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 technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.
Additionally, EPA has released new details about the upcoming competitive grant program for fiscal year 2023, including information regarding priorities and eligibility. This new program design will leverage federal dollars to reduce electric bus prices, ensure equitable deployment and encourage the expansion of electric bus manufacturing capacity.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has named new initiatives through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and existing programs to lower energy costs for America’s public schools, including through Renew America’s Schools Grants. DOE took the next step to administer $80 million in funding for its Renew America’s Schools grant program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by issuing the notice of intent.
These grants and others will focus on high-impact improvements in rural and high-poverty school districts, innovative technology solutions, and innovative partnership and funding models that can build healthier, more energy efficient schools. This funding will be made available to public schools later this fall.