(WNY News Now) – Governor Kathy Hochul has unveiled $100 million in funding for zero-emission school buses as part of the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. The New York School Bus Incentive Program aims to make eco-friendly buses and charging infrastructure more accessible to public schools, aligning with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.
N.Y. – Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a groundbreaking initiative, making $100 million available for zero-emission school buses through the New York School Bus Incentive Program. This move, under the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, is designed to support public school districts and bus operators in adopting clean buses and charging infrastructure, fostering improved air quality and reduced pollution, particularly in underserved communities.
The initiative, administered by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), provides incentives to school bus fleet operators for the purchase of zero-emission battery electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Incentives, starting at $114,000, cover up to 100 percent of the incremental cost of these buses. Priority districts, including high-need school districts and disadvantaged communities, may receive larger voucher amounts.
Charging infrastructure incentives are also available for eligible school bus fleet operators, providing rebates for installing infrastructure associated with newly purchased zero-emission school buses. The program places a particular emphasis on supporting priority districts, offering higher incentives for buses domiciled in these areas.
Governor Hochul emphasizes the critical importance of transitioning to zero-emission school buses, aligning with the state’s goal to have all school buses in New York operating as zero-emission vehicles by 2035. This initiative not only promotes the health and well-being of students but also contributes to environmental protection by reducing harmful emissions.
NYSERDA will accept applications on a rolling basis, prioritizing funding for disadvantaged communities in line with the Bond Act’s requirement. The eligibility guidelines, available online, detail the process for school bus fleet owners to apply for incentives. Additionally, a webinar on December 11, 2023, will provide further information on the program and new charging incentives.
The Environmental Bond Act underscores a commitment to ensuring at least 40 percent of the New York School Bus Incentive Program benefits disadvantaged communities, aligning with the Act’s mandate of directing 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of its funds to these communities.
To facilitate the transition to zero-emission buses, New York State offers various resources, including the Electric School Bus Roadmap and the Electric School Bus Guidebook. The initial $100 million in Environmental Bond Act funding allocates $5 million for technical assistance to aid school bus fleets in developing electrification plans, with high-need districts potentially having the entire cost covered.
Governor Hochul’s ongoing investments in clean transportation further demonstrate New York’s commitment, with over $1 billion earmarked for zero-emission vehicles over the next five years. These investments align with clean car and truck regulations, requiring 100 percent zero-emission sales by 2035.
New York State’s comprehensive climate plan, focused on a just transition, aims for a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, and economy wide carbon neutrality by mid-century. With significant investments in renewable projects, emission reduction, and clean energy, New York is leading the way in sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
For more information and updates, interested parties can visit www.ny.gov/BondAct.