Five PA school districts to get 120 clean energy buses via Biden’s infrastructure law

Front view of a yellow school bus parked in front of a hydro sub-station. (Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

January 11, 2024

The commonwealth will receive at least $47.3 million from President Biden’s infrastructure law to deliver 120 new no- or low-emission  school buses in school districts across the commonwealth. 

More electric school buses are set to make their way in school districts across Pennsylvania, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program. 

Two applicants received $47 million through the competitive grant program. The School District of Philadelphia will receive $7.9 million to purchase 20 school buses and First Student Inc. will receive $39.5 million to purchase 100 clean school buses for four other districts: the Pittsburgh School District in Allegheny County, the Laurel Highlands School District in Fayette County, the New Castle Area School District in Lawrence County,  and the William Penn School District in Delaware County.

Electric and low-emission natural gas buses reduce pollution that drives climate change and reduce health risks among children and the surrounding communities, according to the World Resources Institute, a global research nonprofit organization.

“Kids in the left behind communities of western Pennsylvania have higher rates of asthma compared to the rest of the country as a direct result of air pollution,” Congresswoman Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) said in a statement. “I am so excited that the Pittsburgh School District will be getting a brand-new fleet of zero-emissions, clean school buses. Our children deserve a healthy future where they can breathe clean air and drink clean water—and this is one crucial step in achieving that reality.” 

The EPA’s Clean Bus Program was created under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and funded to the tune of $5 billion to take diesel powered school buses off the streets and replace them with buses that produce lower emissions or no emissions at all. This includes electric school buses and compressed natural gas and propane powered buses. 

Earlier this year, The Keystone reported that Pennsylvania was already set to receive 88 electric school buses through the Clean Bus Program by the start of the 2024 school year. At the time, 10 school districts across the state were selected to receive $34.6 million from the program. 

The electric school buses also add a layer of security for a local community. They have the capability to power a building and provide shelter during a natural disaster once they are connected to their chargers.

“Clean school buses ensure our children are breathing cleaner air, which will set them up with a brighter and healthier future,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “The infrastructure law is continuing to deliver for Pennsylvania and helping us build a cleaner, brighter future for our children.” 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

Politics

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