State Incentive Program Makes Charging Infrastructure and Electric Upgrades for Clean Buses More Affordable for Public Schools

Photo by Cara Tomao

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on March 5, 2024 that funding is now available for electric school bus charging infrastructure under the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act and through the New York School Bus Incentive Program. Support is available to help make installing Level 2 or Direct Current Fast Charging chargers and associated electrical upgrades more affordable for public school districts and the bus operators that contract with them. Today’s announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and New York State’s requirements that all school buses in New York State be zero-emission by 2035.

“Young people are at the center of the climate crisis, and enabling the transition to a zero-emission school bus fleet is not only a commitment to a greener future, but to the health and well-being of our students,” Governor Hochul said. “As school districts make the switch to electric buses, my administration is providing the resources necessary to transition as easily and affordably as possible.”

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the program is now accepting applications from public school districts and school bus operators. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the level of funding provided is based on the number of buses a school district or bus operator has purchased or is currently purchasing. Amounts start at $25,000 per bus to cover hardware, customer-side electrical site upgrades, installation costs, and battery storage.

Assistant Superintendent for Business at the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns Brian Fried said, “It’s been challenging for school districts to be fiscally responsible and environmentally conscious all at the same time. Transitioning to electric school buses allows us to modernize our transportation infrastructure while helping to minimize our reliance on fossil fuels. We’re pleased to embark on this process to model sustainability practices for our kids without additional burdensome school taxes for our community.”

Districts designated as priority districts can receive an additional $10,000 per bus. Priority districts are defined as high-need school districts by the New York State Education Department or those that serve disadvantaged communities as defined by the New York State Climate Justice Working Group.

As part of the process, applicants can receive up to an additional $30,000 per bus if they choose the option to complete a Fleet Electrification Plan which provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing fleet operations, analysis of current site electrical capabilities, and will serve as an action plan for electrifying the applicant’s entire fleet by 2035.

For more information please visit: Governor Hochul Announces Funding

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