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Grants Available For Purchases Of ‘Green’ Buses

A proposal put forth by Gov. Kathy Hochul is likely to receive an energetic welcome from a number of area school districts.

Hochul announced $100 million is available for zero-emission school buses under the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. The New York School Bus Incentive Program provides funding to make clean buses and the associated charging infrastructure more affordable for public school districts and bus operators that contract with them while reducing pollution, and improving air quality in communities across the state, particularly those that are underserved. Today’s announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and New York State’s requirements that all school buses in New York State be zero-emission by 2035.

“New York State is empowering school districts to embrace zero-emission school buses which will provide our leaders of tomorrow with healthy and clean transportation today,” she said. “Ensuring electric school buses are at the forefront of student transport is a critical health investment and demonstrates the benefits of clean energy while reducing harmful emissions to improve air quality and protect our precious environment.”

Already, Lake Shore Central Schools in Angola has purchased two of these buses for transportation. Other districts, including Silver Creek, Pine Valley and Jamestown, have all discussed looking at a purchase in the future.

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NYSBIP provides incentives to eligible school bus fleet operators that purchase zero-emission battery electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. The funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis with incentive amounts starting at $114,000 and covering up to 100 percent of the incremental cost of a new or repowered zero-emission school bus, depending on the type of vehicle.

Larger voucher amounts are available for priority districts that include high-need school districts and disadvantaged communities, as defined by the New York State Climate Justice Working Group. Additional incentives are also available for fleets removing internal combustion engine buses from operation, purchasing wheelchair accessible buses, or purchasing buses with vehicle to grid capability.

The program also provides rebates to eligible school bus fleet operators who purchase and install eligible charging infrastructure in association with newly purchased zero-emission school buses. School bus fleet owners (the school district or their contractor) are also eligible to receive $25,000 per bus for charging infrastructure, or $35,000 if they serve a priority district. Fleet owners that have completed electrification plans are eligible to receive $55,000 per bus for charging infrastructure, or $65,000 if they serve a priority district. Vehicle manufacturers and bus dealers can also continue to apply to offer their vehicles on a rolling basis.

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