Six public schools in Indiana are the first-round grant recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program, which will help fund the purchase of 13 electric school buses and advance the transition to zero emission vehicles, according to an EPA media release.
Indiana grant recipients are Caston School Corp., East Washington School Corp., Michigan City Area Schools, North Central Parke Community School Corp, Northeastern Wayne Schools and Western Boone County Community School District.
The first round of the Clean School Bus Program totals $965 million, with those in the Midwest representing more than one-fifth of all those awarded electric school buses nationwide.
“We’re proud that school districts in the Midwest submitted more applications for electric school bus funding than any other region of the country,” Susan Mudd, Environmental Law and Policy Center senior policy advocate, said in an ELPC media release. “This is one more way that demonstrates Midwest school administrators care about their kids.”
Currently, the EPA has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. The EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states and Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories.
“As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. 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,” said EPA administrator Michael S. Regan in the media release. “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.”
School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural and or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to allocate the full $965 million in the coming weeks.
“We look forward to working with school districts that were awarded grants to implement their new buses and with more school districts in the region that consider applying for funding in upcoming rounds,” Mudd said.
Through future rounds of funding, the EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in fiscal year 2023. The EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates and those that did not apply to this funding cycle to participate in future rounds.
The five-year, $5 billion program was created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.