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In late September, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that $100 million will be made available for zero-emission school buses. The funding comes through the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. New York has goals of having all new school buses sold in the state be zero-emission types by 2027, having all school buses on the road be emissions free by 2035, and reducing the state’s overall emissions by 85% by 2050.
The funds will be available to help school districts and bus operators statewide to phase out fossil fuel buses, curb emissions, and make zero-emission buses more affordable. The Bond Act supporting this goal includes an allotment of $500 million for zero-emission school buses and the infrastructure they require.
“The commitment of public funds and guidance released today puts New York State schools and bus operators on a trajectory to embrace clean transportation and the benefits that it will bring,” Governor Hochul said. “Zero-emission buses will become a hallmark, not only transporting students through our communities, but also demonstrating the promise and possibility of a healthier, environmentally friendly, low-carbon future for our youngest citizens.”
To qualify for the New York School Bus Incentive Program (NYSBIP), which is releasing the funds, a dealer or manufacturer of buses has to apply and show that the buses it plans to sell are in compliance with the program rules. The rules were released by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
The NYSBIP offers a point-of-sale incentives enable discounts for eligible school bus fleet operators. The buses themselves must be zero-emission battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric types. Funding for the infrastructure to charge or fuel them is also available.
The amount of funding available is intended to offset part or all of the difference in the purchase prices of the zero-emissions bus and a comparable bus with an internal combustion engine. Funding for the buses is available to manufacturers and dealers. Funding for the charging or fueling infrastructure is available to the owners of the fleets that will operate them.
The Environmental Bond Act requires that special attention be provided for disadvantaged communities. They will receive at least 35% of the total funding distributed, though the goal is to have them get 40%, and that is the goal NYSERDA is striving for. Greater assistance is available for such communities.