Reducing Pollution, Saving Schools Money & Keeping Children Healthy: Gov. Polis, EPA Highlight Money Saving, Clean School Bus Grant Program
AURORA – This morning, Governor Polis joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe, EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker, state lawmakers, Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn, and local leaders to highlight innovative state and federal initiatives to support school districts’ investment in electric school buses.
This year, Governor Polis signed a landmark new clean air package which includes Colorado’s bold new electrifying school buses grant program. The law allocates funding to be awarded to Colorado school districts and charter schools to support the switch from diesel school buses to electric-powered, zero-emission school buses.
“Electric school buses will help save schools across our state money, help clean our air and protect children’s health and safety,” said Governor Polis. “Our landmark clean air initiatives at the state level paired with the federal investments will help cut pollution, and provide savings for schools and we encourage school districts across Colorado to take advantage of this opportunity to lower operating costs and reduce reliance on expensive diesel buses to free up more money for better teacher pay and smaller class size.”
Earlier today, Governor Polis spoke with rural superintendents and discussed the benefits of zero-emission school buses and the increasing funding opportunities to support school districts to invest in electric school buses and infrastructure. Gov. Polis encouraged the districts that have not already, to apply for the EPA Clean School Buses funding before the August 19th deadline, and make the switch to clean buses to help save money and keep kids safe.
Colorado’s electrifying school buses grant program will offer funding opportunities and support for school districts and charter schools to purchase and maintain electric school bus fleets. The switch to zero-emission school buses will help keep children safe from toxic air emissions released by diesel vehicles and protect the environment. School districts across Colorado have already started investing in electric school buses and this new opportunity will support more districts to start the process. Investing in new clean buses can save districts thousands of dollars every year in avoided fuel and maintenance and improve air quality statewide.
The grant program was created through the passage of SB22-193 which expands opportunities to improve air quality and cut emissions across Colorado. This bipartisan legislation was signed into law by Gov. Polis this summer and was sponsored by Senators Stephen Fenberg and Julie Gonzales and Representatives Alex Valdez and Meg Froelich.
The federal initiative, the Clean School Bus Grant Program, was created through the bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The 2022 rebate program allocates up to $500 million in federal funding to support public and charter schools, nonprofit school transportation associations, tribal organizations, and contractors who sell or finance school buses to buy electric school buses. Over the next five years, EPA expects to invest $5 billion in zero-emission and low-emission school buses. Full details about eligibility and program information are on EPA’s site and the deadline to apply for the funding is August 19th.