The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will nearly double the funding awarded for clean school buses this year following increased demand, with school districts from all 50 states applying for the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates during this first round of funding.
In May, EPA had announced the availability of $500 million, but given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA is nearly doubling the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million.
EPA expects to issue a slate of awards next month. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include a grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023.
The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.
EPA received around 2,000 applications requesting nearly $4 billion for more than 12,000 buses. More than 90% of buses requested were for electric buses. Nearly 9% of applications were for propane buses and 1% were for compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates program prioritizes low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most.
Once notified, selected school districts can proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. After the selectees submit the proper forms, they will be eligible to receive rebate funds.