So here’s some awesome news: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of at least $400 million in grants for cleaner school buses, reducing harmful pollution and protecting children’s health.
Funding from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality in and around schools and communities, save schools money, create good-paying clean energy jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, protecting people and the planet.
The grants are made possible through the Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses. This is the first round of funding available as grants and follows the nearly $1 billion awarded through the rebate competition last year to fund electric and low-emission school buses across school districts.
A Little Bit of Background About the Clean School Bus Grant Competition
The $400 million grant opportunity through EPA’s Clean School Bus Program will fund electric, propane, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses that will produce either zero or low tailpipe emissions compared to their older diesel predecessors.
These emission reductions will result in cleaner air for students riding the buses, bus drivers, school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities the buses drive through each day. Beyond the community, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacement projects will help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector on climate change.
EPA is prioritizing applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, Tribal school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or those receiving basic support payments for students living on Tribal land, and rural areas.
Eligible applicants for this funding opportunity are
state and local governmental entities that provide bus service;
public charter school districts
Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, or Tribally-controlled Schools
Nonprofit School Transportation Associations, and
Applicants have two options to apply:
Applicants seeking to serve a single school district can apply through the School District Sub-Program to request a minimum of 15 school buses and up to a maximum of 50 school buses.
Applicants seeking to serve at least four school districts can apply through the third-party Sub-program to request between 50 school buses and up to a maximum of 100 school buses.
EPA will provide a combined funding amount to cover both bus and infrastructure costs for all awardees requesting electric school buses.
This is a competitive program where applicants will be scored based on how well their proposal meets the criteria set forth within the NOFO. The Clean School Bus Grant Program will be open for 120 days and close, Aug. 22. Questions about applying may be directed to CleanSchoolBus@epa.gov.
The grant funding opportunity came on the heels of an EPA report showing that climate
change-related impacts in childhood can have lifelong consequences due to effects on learning, physical health, and housing security.
The new national-scale, multi-sector EPA report showcases some of the ways children are especially vulnerable to a variety of health effects from climate change due to physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social factors.
This peer-reviewed report quantifies projected health effects associated with extreme heat, air quality, changing seasons, and more.
Of particular concern to GASP? Climate change is expected to increase the incidence of asthma in children. Specifically, climate-driven changes in air quality are estimated to increase annual cases of asthma between 4% and 11%, respectively.
“The report underscores the need for better protections against air pollution for children,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “Getting rid of dirty diesel school buses is one major way we can protect their health and we hope local districts will jump at the opportunity to apply for this funding.”