ATLANTA – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) highlighted that both Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Public Schools each received $9,875,000 in rebates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Rebate program. The grants will help each school district purchase 25 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said:
“Every student–including my seven-year-old son Carter–deserves a healthy school day. That should start before they even get on the bus. The Clean School Bus Rebate program will help Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Public Schools deliver a healthier day for their students as they get ready to change the world. Environmentally friendly school buses will also help the communities they drive through. This is another example of how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering for all Georgians–no matter their ZIP Code, no matter their bank account.”
Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said:
“Our school buses play an important role in student success and I am proud to be a recipient of this grant which helps to promote cleaner air for our students and communities.”
Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Morcease J. Beasley said:
“For years Clayton County Public Schools has prioritized student health in relation to air pollution and bus emissions by designating schools as idle-free zones. We are being responsible by doing our part to lower emissions that are accelerating climate change. The district is appreciative to receive additional support from the federal level to continue our efforts of ensuring all students are provided healthy learning environments and safe transportation within our district.”
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said:
“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”
In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.
At this time, through a lottery system, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states and Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.
Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.
These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.
About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program
The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.
The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Congresswoman Williams serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee where she is Vice Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress. She is Freshman Class President and Co-Chairs the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as a champion of voting rights, closing the racial wealth gap, and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of their ZIP code or bank account.