The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reminding school districts and eligible school bus operators and contractors of the Aug. 19 deadline to apply for funding to start replacing the nation's fleet of school buses with clean and zero-emission buses.
The new Clean School Bus program makes $500 million available in the first round, with $5 billion set aside for low- and zero-emission school buses over the next five years, secured through President Joe Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
The BIL allows EPA to prioritize certain applicants in the program, such as those in high-need school districts in rural zones, low-income areas, and school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Those applicants are eligible to receive more funding per bus and get preference in the selection process in the rebate program. However, all eligible applicants, regardless of prioritization status, are encouraged to apply.
The EPA has indicated that the agency is committed to meeting and exceeding the Biden-Harris Administration's Justice40 goal, in which at least 40% of the benefits of certain government programs flow to disadvantaged communities.
"The Clean School Bus Program will strive to meet withis commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of our work," a news release stated.
The EPA is accepting rebate applications until 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 19.
The Clean School Bus Rebates application is simple, does not require matching, and allows for funds to be awarded before the purchase of the buses. The first step potential applicants must complete is to verify they have an active registration within the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). When creating a SAM.gov registration, most applicants will use the Federal Assistance Awards Only. For more application information, visit the EPA website.
This is the first competition that EPA is running through the Clean School Bus program. The agency also anticipates launching a grant competition later this year. Additional Clean School Bus competitions funded by the BIL will be run every year over the next five years.