UniteGPS – It’s official; Congress has received the initial report for the Clean School Bus Program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here is where the organization outlines how they intend to disperse $5 billion in aid over the next five years to expedite electric school bus adoption.

School districts planning to convert from diesel to zero or low-emission electric buses can expect reimbursements as soon as April. At least for the first round, funding will arrive as rebates.

Months in the making, this is the first formal announcement of the Clean School Bus Program since its formation when President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law legislated last November.

New information provided in the memo includes eligibility requirements. As mentioned, state and local government entities, nonprofit school transportation associations, in addition to tribal organizations and schools, are all encouraged to apply.

READ MORE: 1,738 electric school buses operate in U.S. as of Sept. 2021

Along those lines, this report also listed which applications will have top priority. These include high-need local education agencies, tribal schools, rural, or low-income areas, in addition to applicants providing cost-shares via public-private partnerships, grants from other entities, or school bonds. 

Based on these guidelines, this means that transportation contractors can only access funds through a third party, like a school district, or directly from the school bus manufacturer or dealer.

When allocating awards, the EPA will evaluate the lowest overall cost of bus replacement, local conditions like the length of bus routes and weather conditions, potential impact on manufacturing jobs, as well as technology considerations.