EPA spends nearly $1 billion on electric school buses amid nationwide bus driver shortage


The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it will award nearly $1 billion in rebates to school districts in all 50 states that buy “clean” electric school buses, despite a nationwide bus driver shortage.

The rebate is funded through the $1 trillion infrastructure bill President Biden signed into law in late 2021. That bill provides $5 billion over five years to EPA’s Clean School Bus Program that can be used to buy non-diesel buses, and the administration said today’s announcement was the first installment of that plan.

“President Biden’s historic bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

KENTUCKY EMISSIONS REDUCTION PROGRAM TO FUND NEW SCHOOL BUSES

“Thanks to the Biden-Harris administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution,” Regan said. “This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

EPA said $913 million has been designated to support the purchase of 2,463 buses so far, and a total of $965 billion will be committed in the next few weeks. The administration said 95% of those buses will be electric, and that almost all the buses will go to districts that serve low-income, rural and/or tribal students.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of school bus drivers across the country has been dropping as many retire or seek higher wages in jobs that require less in-person interaction. The EPA’s announcement did not address the bus driver shortage or detail who will be driving the new vehicles.

CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ‘CAN BEGIN IN THE WOMB’ WARNS NEW YORK TIMES OPINION PIECE, PUSHES FOR GOVT. ACTION

“Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities,” EPA said. “Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day.”

EPA said the announcement complements Biden’s “Justice40” initiative, which is designed to deliver 40% of federal funding in certain programs to communities that are “marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.”

BIG OIL HEIRESS FUNDING ‘JUST STOP OIL’ GROUP THAT THREW SOUP ON VAN GOGH PAINTING

The White House said the EPA has launched a competitive grant program that will help reduce the price of electric school buses and “ensure equitable deployment,” and said electric buses will help students learn.

“Studies also show that poor air quality inside classrooms hinders student concentration and performance, and can also increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools, which can threaten the in-person learning experience for students,” the White House said. 

“Reducing this pollution will provide better health and educational outcomes – particularly in low-income communities and communities of color that have long faced the highest burdens of pollution and underinvestment.”

The infrastructure law signed in 2021 is being used to fund the purchase of nearly $1 billion worth of electric school buses, part of a push to reduce pollution around schools.

Go to Source