NYLCVEF President Julie Tighe Reacts to the Bond Act-funded School Bus Incentive Program

It’s time to get on the all-electric bus. We are thrilled to see the first application period open up for the Bond Act-funded New York School Bus Incentive Program, and we strongly urge all school districts to apply and begin the process of transitioning their school bus fleets to electric. The mandate to make all school buses electric by 2035 statewide was a major environmental and public health victory; it will reduce air pollution that is poisoning our children’s lungs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet. 

Diesel school buses expose kids to exhaust 23-46 times higher than what the EPA lists as significant cancer risk. One in 10 children in New York State have asthma — the number one cause of school absences among children — and that number jumps to an appalling one quarter for children that live in low-income communities and communities of color in New York City. 

For the sake of our children’s health and for the sake of the planet, it is critical that we get the transition to electric school buses right. And while a lot of work lies ahead to get there, it is an achievable goal. With state funds beginning to flow along with investments from the U.S. EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, and by bringing innovation, community voices, and operational expertise to the fore – like we are doing with our case-study project, “Electric School Buses in the Bronx and Beyond” – we can begin the hard work of blazing the trail so all school districts have a clear path to reaching a 100% clean energy bus fleet. 

The Bond Act-funded New York School Bus Incentive Program provides up to $100 million in funding to school districts and third-party school bus operators for electric school buses (including repowers) and charging infrastructure. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t miss this opportunity for essential funding. 

NYLCVEF and our partners are here to help as school districts across the state embark on this transition. WRI, for example, is helping districts take advantage of Bond Act and other funding sources by providing free resources on the school bus electrification process, including an NYSBIP cheat sheet, step-by-step guide, a power planner for working with electric utilities, and a market report/ buyer’s guide detailing the electric school bus models on the road today. 

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