Image Courtesy of IC Bus  -

Image Courtesy of IC Bus

For decades, yellow school buses have safely transported students to and from their studies. In that time, the school transportation community has come to understand the negative health effects that the emissions from older model buses can have on students, as well as local residents, creating a movement within the industry to reduce the polluting tailpipes of thousands of school buses with newer, greener technologies.

The biggest roadblock in this movement to improve students’ rides throughout the country is one the industry is no stranger to — a lack of funding. Clean transportation technologies such as propane, natural gas, and now battery-electric, are viable solutions to this problem, but not all school districts can afford to purchase new buses, as well as the needed fueling infrastructure that goes along with it.

Enter the Clean School Bus Program. As part of the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorizes up to $108 billion for public transportation. Of this funding, $5 billion has been set aside over the next five years for the replacement of existing school buses with clean and zero-emission school buses through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program​. This funding is currently available as the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates, which adds up to $500 million and can be used to purchase zero or low tailpipe emissions school buses.

Program Benefits

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also allows EPA to prioritize certain applicants in the Clean School Bus Program. This includes:

  • High-need districts and those in low-income areas
    • Districts that are listed in the Small Area Income and Poverty School District Estimates for 2020 as having 20% or more students living in poverty.
    • Districts that self-certify as having 20% or more students living in poverty.
    • Districts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Rural school districts
    • Districts identified with locale codes “43-Rural: Remote” and “42-Rural: Distant” by the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Tribal school districts
    • Districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that receive basic support payments for children who reside on Indian land. 

For districts looking to electrify their fleet, this funding can be used to purchase up to 25 new battery-electric buses, with $325,000 allotted for each new purchase. They can also use the money towards adding the necessary infrastructure, with an additional $20,000 for each charger installed. While this is great news for district leadership throughout the U.S., it is not as easy as sending a quick email to the EPA to secure these grants, especially with the deadline for 2022 applications coming up on August 19, 2022. It takes a knowledgeable staff member to fill out the application — or the right partner.

How IC Bus can Help

The team at IC Bus closely monitors the Clean School Bus Program, participating in webinars and attending local and state events to get the most up-to-date information. We understand that it can be overwhelming for our customers to fully understand what is being offered, so summarizing and being a resource for our dealer network, as well as the school districts they serve, is a valuable tool to have in your belt.

We not only provide instant access to information on available funding, but we also help manage the application throughout the entire process, including writing, submission, and management of the application once it’s tendered. Our funding experts can help customers navigate the System for Award Management (SAM) website to ensure they are in compliance and are correctly reporting to be eligible for the awarded programs, allowing for zero breach of contract. We also offer the ability to utilize standard telematics data to report a variety of information that is potentially required.

To learn more visit today to find out how we can help your district provide the safest, healthiest rides for our nation’s most precious cargo.