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    HomeGovernmentPadilla, Warnock, Cárdenas, Hayes Urge Biden Administration to Increase Clean School Bus...

    Padilla, Warnock, Cárdenas, Hayes Urge Biden Administration to Increase Clean School Bus Funding in FY 2024 Budget

    U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29), and Representative Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young urging them to include at least $300 million in additional funding for zero-emission school buses through the Clean School Bus Program in the President’s 2024 budget request. School buses make up roughly 90 percent of the nation’s bus fleet and are the nation’s largest form of mass transit. Such additional funding would provide additional opportunities for school districts to replace polluting diesel buses to help drive down the costs of zero-emission technology.

    The lawmakers championed the creation of the $5 billion Clean School Bus Program in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In their letter, the lawmakers applauded the Biden administration’s commitment to replacing the hundreds of thousands of polluting diesel school buses with cleaner, healthier, zero-emission school buses. They also noted the work ahead to ensure schools, especially those in underserved communities, can make the transition to clean school buses.

    “With more than 400,000 diesel buses still on the road, there is more work to be done,” wrote the lawmakers. “Each day, more and more schools are learning about the health, fiscal, and resiliency benefits of investing in zero-emission school buses, and they are ready to make the transition away from diesel. It is our duty to ensure reliable resources and technical expertise are consistently available to help the schools make this transition, especially in our most overburdened communities.”

    The Clean School Bus Program will provide at least $2.5 billion for zero-emission school buses over five years. While only $500 million for was initially made available for this first round of funding, EPA received more than 2,000 applications requesting a total of nearly $4 billion. More than 90 percent of the buses requested were zero-emission. In an effort to meet the overwhelming demand, EPA ultimately awarded nearly $1 billion to 400 school districts across the nation.

    Full text of the letter is available here and below.

    Dear Administrator Regan and Director Young:

    Thank you for your continued leadership in implementing critical climate policy. We write today to request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) include at least $300 million in additional funding for school bus electrification under EPA’s Clean School Bus Program in the Agency’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget Request.

    With the release of the American Jobs Plan in 2021, President Biden sent a strong signal regarding his commitment to replace the hundreds of thousands of polluting diesel school buses with cleaner, healthier, zero-emission school buses. Over the past two years, we have worked with our Senate and House colleagues to provide a down payment on a brighter future for students across the country by establishing the Clean School Bus Program through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA; P.L. 117-58), which directs at least $2.5 billion for zero-emission school buses. Additionally, last year, we led more than 80 of our congressional colleagues in requesting at least $300 million in additional funding to support the transition to zero-emission school buses under the Clean School Bus Program for FY 2023 appropriations. We also secured the passage of the Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicle Tax Credit (45W) and the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA; P.L. 117-169), and we continue to advocate for school districts to have access to these important IRA resources.

    The first round of the Clean School Bus Program, which sought to provide resources to schools in some of our most overburdened and underserved communities, demonstrated resounding interest from school districts across the country. While only $500 million was initially made available for this first round of funding, EPA received more than 2,000 applications requesting a total of nearly $4 billion. In an effort to meet the high demand, EPA ultimately awarded nearly $1 billion to 400 schools across the nation. This is the first major step towards providing our nation’s students with a safe, clean, and healthy ride to school.

    However, with more than 400,000 diesel buses still on the road, there is more work to be done. Each day, more and more schools are learning about the health, fiscal, and resiliency benefits of investing in zero-emission school buses, and they are ready to make the transition away from diesel. It is our duty to ensure reliable resources and technical expertise are consistently available to help the schools make this transition, especially in our most overburdened communities. Additionally, investing in a cleaner future for our students now will help drive down the cost of zero-emission school buses in the long term – making them more accessible to all school districts throughout the country.

    Given the strong demand for zero-emission school buses, we seek to work with the Administration to fulfill its commitment to the children of this country by including additional resources for zero-emission school buses in its FY 2024 Budget Request under the Clean School Bus Program. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and for working with us to secure a clean, brighter future for students.

    Sincerely,

    Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)
    Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)https://www.padilla.senate.gov/
    The proud son of immigrants from Mexico, Senator Alex Padilla, believes in giving everyone a fair shot at the American dream. A progressive problem solver, Alex has dedicated his career to finding solutions to the toughest challenges and fighting for communities that are too often left out and left behind.
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