ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Lawmakers here have approved a bill that would provide funding for electric school buses.
House Bill 1255 would establish the Zero-Emission Vehicle School Bus Transition Grant Program to provide funding for school districts and bus contractors to purchase electric school buses, install charging infrastructure, and develop plans and fund pilot programs for transitioning to the use of electric buses. The program would be supported by a fund administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment, in consultation with the State Department of Education.
The bill was first introduced by delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo in February, and included language that would have required all school districts to only purchase zero-emission vehicles beginning Oct. 1, 2022 and school bus contractors to follow suit by 2025. The grant program was added to the bill after amendments made by the House Ways and Means Committee, according to the state's general assembly website.
A fiscal summary of the bill estimates that approximately $600,000 is available to develop and fund a pilot program for about four to six electric school buses in the state. The funding is part of the state’s $76 million allocation of Volkswagen settlement funds, in which a total of $4.6 million is reserved for school bus replacement, according to the bill’s fiscal summary.
The bill has passed both the House and Senate. If signed by Gov. Larry Hogan, House Bill 1255 will take effect on Oct. 1, 2019.