UniteGPS – To accelerate the adoption of clean energy within the public transit sector, the Biden-Harris Administration released a fact sheet on Monday, March 7 outlining actions to support state and local government agencies in accessing electric school bus funding.

After months of anticipation, this was the White House’s first formal announcement of new energy funding schemes as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan. At the center of this will be the Department of Transportation (DOT) administering $1.5 billion to communities in purchasing electric school buses.

The ultimate goals here are to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, replace diesel with electric school buses, expand transportation options, and create jobs for the American workforce. Part of this job creation plan involves the DOT funding $2.2 billion to workforce training at 35 transit agencies in 18 states. 

Federal money for electric school bus funding

In relation to the previously reported Clean School Bus Program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also allotted $17 million to assist communities in converting from diesel to electric school buses. On top of this comes an additional $5 billion from the infrastructure law. 

Another component of the EPA’s involvement is proposing new legislation to create tighter carbon emission caps for heavy-duty vehicles. More electric school buses out on the road will therefore reduce air pollution from nitrogen oxides that can cause asthma, heart and lung disease, as well as other respiratory issues.

“In our economy, transportation is the single biggest contributor to climate change and is responsible for over 55% of nitrogen oxides — dangerous gases that can contribute to asthma and other respiratory diseases,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

For Buttigieg, transportation plays a vital role in preventing further climate crisis and air pollution, starting with public transit. Officials estimate that clean energy adoption could end up saving 2,000 lives every year, in addition to 18,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma.