The five-year Clean School Bus Program will replace school buses with zero- or low-emission models, starting this year. The total cost will be $5 billion

Listen here

By Edwin Viera

October 27, 2022   

School districts across New York will be receiving almost $70 million in federal funding for electric school buses, via a grant awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Bus rebate competition. It is part of a $1 billion investment from the bipartisan infrastructure law.

New York state has made commitments to having all electric school buses by 2035. One challenge with climate-change initiatives is the initial investment in the new technology.

William Reinhardt, Albany County legislator and former project manager at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said this isn’t new territory, especially as solar paved the way.

“We’re already seeing this with batteries, and we’ve already seen it over the last ten years with solar,” Reinhardt pointed out. “The cost per watt of an installed solar has gone way down, way down. And it’s much more economical than most people realize now, ’cause their mind is still back ten years ago when it was really expensive.”

Electric buses are not entirely new to the state. Currently, electric buses have been implemented in mass transit systems, since they cover greater mileage than a school bus. The EPA grants will help school districts purchase more than 2,400 electric school buses to speed the transition to zero-emissions vehicles.

While many are embracing the push to electric buses, there have been parents concerned about electric fires occurring on the new buses. Reinhardt likened it to feeling safer with the devil you know than the devil you don’t, although he understands their concerns. He added education is needed to ensure people and children riding the new buses fully understand the need.

“The kids are our future, and we need to surround them with examples of what the future needs to be,” Reinhardt asserted. “That means electric buses, not the dirty buses, it means renewable energy at your schools, and in curriculums, so they’re learning about this future that we all have to embrace.”


Clean bus grants EPA 10/26/2022
Bus funding N.Y. Senate 05/13/2022
Preliminary investigation NTSB 09/15/2022