Big Valley and Modoc Schools Get Federal Grant for EV Bus Fleet

Eight new clean-emission electric school buses will come to Big Valley Joint Unified and Modoc Joint Unified School Districts under a new federal program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 authorizes the EPA to offer rebates to replace existing Diesel school buses with clean and zero-emission (ZE) models to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier buses.

Nearly 400 school districts spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C., along with several tribes and U.S. territories, are receiving roughly $1 billion in grants to purchase about 2,500 “clean” school buses.

In late September, the EPA said it would nearly double that funding for clean school buses this year as the agency received a record-breaking demand from school districts that applied for this year’s Clean School Bus (CSB) Rebates.

The effort to expand the program is to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and reduce air pollution near schools and communities. According to the Biden administration, the new, primarily electric school buses are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and better protect children’s health.

Vice President Kamala Harris in Seattle announced the grant awards earlier this week, saying, “As many as 25 million children ride buses each school day, and they will have a healthier future with a cleaner fleet.”

Only 1% of the nation’s 480,000 school buses were electric last year, including a bus here in Lassen County. Yet that local fleet will grow as the Modoc school district will receive six busses at nearly 2.4 million, and Big Valley will see two new electric buses for a price tag of 790 thousand.

School districts identified as priority areas across the U.S are those with low-income, rural or tribal students, making up 99% of the selected projects.