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GASP Encouraging Local Districts to Take Advantage of EPA Grant Program to Replace Dirty Diesel School Buses; Deadline to Apply is Nov. 5

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week announced two school bus rebate opportunities: the 2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebate Program, and the 2021 American Rescue Plan Electric School Bus Rebates. 

The two rebate opportunities total approximately $17 million in combined funding for schools and bus fleet owners to replace older, highly polluting diesel school buses. Replacing these buses will improve air quality in and around schools and communities, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and better protect children’s health overall. Since 2012, EPA’s school bus rebates have awarded, or are in the process of awarding, over $55 million to replace more than 2,700 old diesel school buses.

“All children, regardless of their zip code, have a right to learn and play in a healthy environment,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a press release. “These funding opportunities to replace highly polluting diesel buses will result in healthier air for many of the 25 million American children who rely on school buses to transport them to and from school each day.”

2021 American Rescue Plan Electric School Bus Rebates

The first rebate opportunity is the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebates. This new $7 million pilot program will provide funds to replace old diesel school buses with new, zero-emission electric school buses. The funds are reserved exclusively for school districts in underserved communities, tribal schools, and private fleets serving those schools. This program offers $300,000 per bus for up to four electric school bus replacements and associated charging infrastructure. The list of eligible applicants is available on the 2021 ARP Electric School Bus Rebates website.

2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates

The second rebate opportunity is EPA’s latest round of funding for long-standing DERA School Bus Rebates. This year’s program offers approximately $10 million to fund the replacement of old diesel school buses with new electric, diesel, gasoline, propane, or compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses meeting current emission standards. 

All public school districts and private bus fleets serving those schools are eligible to apply. Available rebates are between $20,000 – $65,000 per bus depending on the type of fuel used in the replacement bus. Applicants can request rebates for up to 10 buses with a maximum rebate amount of $300,000 per application.

Both rebate programs will select awardees through a lottery system. Awardees are required to scrap the old diesel buses being replaced to ensure those buses will not continue to pollute. The programs will run concurrently but require separate application forms.

“We know from numerous studies that bus emissions are particularly harmful to children because their lungs are not fully mature and are more sensitive to pollution,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “This is a tremendous funding opportunity that we hope local school districts and private bus fleet operators will pursue.”

EPA is accepting applications for both programs until 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5. Questions about applying may be directed to DERA@epa.gov.

To learn more about the rebate programs, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, visit https://www.epa.gov/dera/rebates

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  1. Kelly says:

    This is a very important initiative. On the flip side, I can think of a huge district where they do not offer bussing. If you believe emissions from a few buses are an issue, go and take a look at the 500 cars at each school twice a day. The walking district is not so walking in many cases and parents must drive. We need help too from the unnecessary emissions caused by not having buses (and the other safety issues involved which are too many to name with walking in a cut through area with distracted drivers -and tons of them).

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