May 29, 2024

RI Delegation Helps Local School Districts Add Electric Buses to Their Fleets

$12.4 million in federal Clean School Bus rebates help schools in Jamestown, Pawtucket, Providence, Lincoln & Westerly add electric-powered buses & put school districts on road to major savings

PAWTUCKET, RI — In an effort to help local schools cut fuel and maintenance costs, reduce emissions, and transition to a transportation future that means cleaner air and healthier kids, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo today announced that Rhode Island schools are getting $12,395,000 in federal funding to purchase 45 new electric school buses and charging equipment infrastructure.

The five school districts that will receive a share of federal funding in this round of Clean School Bus awards include:

Jamestown: $910,000 for 5 buses

Pawtucket: $7,630,000 for 22 buses

Providence Preparatory Charter: $690,000 for 2 buses

Lincoln: $2 million for 10 buses

Westerly: $1,165,000 for 6 buses

Different districts plan to purchase different size zero-emission buses, with larger, heavier duty models costing more. 

The Clean School Bus program is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (P.L. 117-58), which Senators Reed and Whitehouse helped to pass in 2021. The program provides dedicated federal funding to help school districts invest in zero-emission transportation now and save significant fuel and repair costs in the future.

The program includes both a grant program where selected applicants are awarded funds to purchase buses, and a rebate program that allows selectees to receive awards before purchasing eligible buses that replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. The funding announced today is part of the third round of awards and EPA will make more funds available for clean school bus applicants in additional rounds of awards.

“This new federal funding to replace old, diesel school buses with new, clean, electric school buses is a win for students, families, school districts, and taxpayers.  It’s also a cost-effective, environmentally friendly investment that will pay off for years to come by reducing fuel and maintenance costs,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “These new buses will reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.  I look forward to helping more local school districts and communities successfully compete for additional funding.”

“Our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to make smart investments in Rhode Island’s clean energy future,” said Senator Whitehouse, who cosponsored legislation reauthorizing the Clean School Bus Program as a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.   “This federal funding will help five Rhode Island school districts purchase state-of-the-art electric buses that will get kids to school safely and protect the health of students and surrounding communities by reducing harmful emissions.”

“Rhode Island’s kids deserve to breathe clean air all the time so that they can learn, grow and achieve their dreams,” said Congressman Magaziner. “This federal funding will go toward purchasing electric school buses that will ensure cleaner air for students and the communities they live in.”

“By dedicating federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help electrify school bus fleets in Rhode Island, we do our part to afford cleaner air for students, reducing our state’s carbon footprint and saving resources for Rhode Islanders,” said Congressman Amo. “I thank my colleagues for their partnership and our local officials who are working together to make sure that our state — and our state’s school districts — continue to lead the way in this effort.”

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts, and result in cleaner air and less noise pollution.  

Air pollution from older diesel bus engines is linked to asthma and other conditions that can harm students’ health and cause them to miss school.  Efforts to minimize the effects of these older diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near bus loading and unloading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day.

Today, American school buses transport 26 million students to and from school each day, according to the American School Bus Council (ASBC), reducing traffic congestion and the number of cars on the road.  Approximately 95 percent of America’s school buses run on diesel, according to the United States Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).  And the ASBC estimates that an additional 10,000 electric school buses will hit the road by 2026.

Overall, EPA awarded about $900 million to school districts across in 47 states across the country this week to buy about 3,400 clean school buses.  Since the program launched, EPA has awarded about $3 billion cumulatively for 8,500 clean school buses.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921