Borrello Introduces Bill To End EV School Bus Transition

As area school districts continue working to meet the state’s electric school bus mandate, their state senator is continuing his efforts to repeal that mandate.

Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, has introduced S.8467 in the state Senate to both eliminate the zero-emission bus mandate as well as authorize the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of converting school busses to zero-emission vehicles. Borrello specifically wants NYSERDA to analyze the conversion for rural, suburban and urban school districts.

“The electric bus mandates were passed in the 2022-23 state budget to help the state meet the lower emissions targets of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA),” Borrello wrote. “The requirements are that new school bus purchases be zero emission by 2027 and all school buses in operation be zero emission by 2035. This legislation will lift the electric school bus mandate to facilitate a thorough study without immediate policy implications. The study will equip policymakers with reliable data to make informed decisions on the viability of electric school buses and will help change current and future policies to better assist in the integration of electric school buses in our various regions in New York state.”

Local school districts have been hosting demonstrations of zero-emission buses while raising concerns over using zero-emission buses on longer rural bus routes and after-school sports trips. Borrello has also been critical of the additional cost for zero-emission buses compared to diesel-powered buses and the lack of state funding to pay for the transition. Electric buses can cost between $400,000 and $450,000, while a gas-powered bus can cost about $130,000.

“It’s time that Albany realizes how unrealistic, costly, and unsafe this mandate is,” Borrello said in his legislative justification. “The cost over and above what school districts already pay for replacement buses is projected at between $8 billion and $15 billion statewide. These totals don’t even include the required infrastructure upgrades including installation of charging stations, electrical improvements, bus garage renovations and so on. Without ques-

tion, the $100 million in grants the state just made available for electric school bus purchases won’t be nearly enough. That amount is enough to fund about 250 buses statewide. With over 800 school districts state-

wide, that isn’t even one bus per district. Even the additional $400 million to be allocated in future rounds won’t make a dent in the cost of conversion.”

The bill isn’t a surprise given Borrello’s outspoken criticism of the quick transition to zero-emission school buses. In December Borrello sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul asking her to rescind the electric school bus mandate at the same time 29 Assembly Republicans signed on to legislation (A.8447) sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, that would delay statewide implementation of the zero-emission school bus mandate until 2045 or until all state agencies convert their fleets and sets other benchmarks that the state Education Department and other state agencies must meet in relation to the full implementation of the mandate.

Neither A.8447 nor S.8467 are expected to progress out of their respective committees during this legislative session.

“Overall, the electric bus mandate, like much of New York’s climate agenda, is being rushed into place without adequate funding, regional flexibility, or input from stakeholders. Those who stand to lose the most from this unfunded mandate are, once again, New York State taxpayers,” Borrello wrote in his legislative justification. “In conclusion, this legislation seeks to facilitate a thorough and unbiased assessment of electric school bus feasibility, costs of infrastructure, and costs of upgrading or replacing, ensuring that future policies align with the practical considerations of our diverse settings in our state.”


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