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EPA announces $400M in clean bus grants in $5B plan to transform school fleets

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Tom Gantert

(The Center Square) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it had at least $400 million in grants to help school districts pay for alternative-energy school buses.

The grants are part of President Joe Biden's agenda to provide $5 billion to "transform the nation's fleet of school buses." Last year the Biden administration awarded nearly $1 billion to fund electric and low-emission buses for school districts.

For example, in 2018, the Seattle Public Schools passed a resolution stating it would be "fossil-fuel free" by 2040. That resolution stated, "All new district vehicles purchased after April 10, 2021 will be either zero-emission or, if zero-emission is not possible, the vehicle will produce the lowest-possible emissions."

The School District of Philadelphia stated it plans to purchase 47 alternative fuel buses this year. The district had 349 diesel, 16 gas and five electric buses at the start of the 2022-23 school year.

Traditional diesel school buses cost about $90,000 on average while electric school buses cost about $290,000, according to Gregory Poole Equipment Company, which sells school buses in North and South Carolina.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris believe our kids deserve cleaner school buses, which will improve the health of communities and reduce emissions,” said Mitch Landrieu in a media release. He's senior advisor to the president and White House infrastructure coordinator. “Communities will also benefit from cleaner air and energy savings by replacing old, dirty diesel school buses with cleaner alternatives.”