SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has added a $10,000 increase in voucher funding for eligible school buses on top of the existing voucher amounts as part of the Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).
Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner C2e hybrid school bus and IC Bus’ CE Series bus with Eaton Corp.’s hybrid-electric system are eligible for the funding, and Joe Calavita, CARB air pollution specialist, told SBF that the voucher amount depends upon bus weight.
“Most buses are 19,501 to 33,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and were eligible for $20,000 each,” he said. “Now, they get $30,000 each, plus $5,000 for the first bus purchased by a fleet. So if a school district wants five buses, they’d get a $35,000 HVIP voucher for the first bus and $30,000 for each bus thereafter. These monies can be combined with California Lower Emission School Bus Program funds to fund up to the entire purchase cost of a hybrid or zero-emission bus.”
Calavita said there is approximately $12 million in vouchers left for this year, and that CARB approved an additional $11 million to be rolled out in early 2012.
Information about the HVIP and how to apply for a voucher can be found here or by calling the HVIP hotline at (888) 457-4846. Districts can apply for a maximum of 100 vouchers.
“Vouchers are provided through eligible dealerships, which are listed on the HVIP website. Dealers deduct the voucher amount from the vehicle price and are reimbursed by the HVIP, so school districts are never out the voucher amount,” Calavita explained, adding that funded vehicles must remain 100 percent in California for three years and operations must submit annual mileage surveys.
Calstart runs the day-to-day implementation of the program.