Nationwide, the push towards the electrification of the transit sector is gaining significant momentum. To that effect, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has officially signed bill SB 193 into law, which aims to improve air quality and will dedicate a US$65 million grant to electric school buses in the state.
This new grant program will reportedly give priority to underserved school districts and “disproportionately impacted communities in recognition of the fact that pollution typically harms these communities the most.” It also arrives on the heels of President Joe Biden’s US$5 billion Clean School Bus Program, which effectively freed up US$500 million in funding across the US for this year. This federal funding is open for application until August 19th, but this new bill should give schools another avenue to secure funding for a cleaner future.
At the same time, many other states have begun to shift towards electric school buses, with Boston committing to 2030, New York committing to 2035, and Nevada committing to 2050. While Colorado has not yet identified a clear timeline for electric school bus adoption, this funding should help to kickstart the process.
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In addition to electric school buses, bill SB 193 details several different projects that intend to improve the quality of Colorado air. If passed, US$12 million would be designated to local governments to start an e-bike share program or an e-bike ownership pro-gram. Moreover, US$15 million would be allotted to help with the cost of replacing diesel trucks with cleaner energy burning trucks, and US$25 million would be issued to companies for voluntary projects to reduce air pollution in the manufacturing industries.
The Electrification Coalition has also created the “Dashboard for Rapid Vehicle Electrification” or “DRVE” tool that school districts can use to analyze the savings available from the electrification of school buses. The US$65 million grant fund also doesn’t just target purchases of new electric school buses, but also supports the conversion of old diesel buses to electric if possible, and retiring of diesel buses early when feasible.