Tens of millions of dollars in grants are available for Colorado school districts looking to replace diesel school buses with zero-emission electric alternatives.
Gov. Jared Polis, local leaders and Environmental Protection Agency officials gathered at an Aurora elementary school Wednesday to promote electric school bus grants, urging school districts to participate in order to save money and reduce pollution.
“Electric school buses will help save our state’s schools money, clean our air, and protect the health and safety of children,” Polis said. “We encourage Colorado school districts to take advantage of this opportunity to reduce operating costs and reduce reliance on expensive diesel buses to free up more money for better teacher pay and smaller class sizes.”
Applications are open until August 19 for the federal Clean School Bus Grant Program, allocating $500 million nationwide to fund the purchase of electric school buses. The Environmental Protection Agency said the grant program will invest $5 billion in zero- and low-emission school buses over the next five years.
Colorado has also committed $65 million to its own statewide electric bus subsidy program through the passage of Senate Bill 193, enacted in June. Applications and guidelines for the state program are not yet open but are expected to be announced soon.
“The healthiest school bus is one without an exhaust,” said Janet McCabe, deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. “I commend the State of Colorado for making clean school buses a priority and setting aside millions of dollars to help districts transition their fleets. Through our partnership with Colorado and funding made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we can help every child in Colorado get to school healthy.
The Environmental Protection Agency said air pollution from diesel vehicles is linked to asthma and other health problems in children, particularly affecting communities of color and tribal communities. Zero- and low-emission buses reduce air pollution and cost school districts less to operate than diesel buses.