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State Makes $100M Available for Zero-Emission School Buses


$100 million is now available for zero-emission school buses under the$4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.

The New York School Bus Incentive Program provides funding to make clean buses and the associated charging infrastructure more affordable for public school districts and bus operators that contract with them while reducing pollution and improving air quality in communities across the state, particularly those that are underserved. Today’s announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050 and New York State’s requirements that all school buses in New York State be zero-emission by 2035.

“New York State is empowering school districts to embrace zero-emission school buses which will provide our leaders of tomorrow with healthy and clean transportation today,” Governor Hochul said. “Ensuring electric school buses are at the forefront of student transport is a critical health investment and demonstrates the benefits of clean energy while reducing harmful emissions to improve air quality and protect our precious environment.”

Administered by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), NYSBIP provides incentives to eligible school bus fleet operators that purchase zero-emission battery electric vehicles (BEV) or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). This funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis with incentive amounts starting at $114,000 and covering up to 100 percent of the incremental cost of a new or repowered zero-emission school bus, depending on the type of vehicle. Larger voucher amounts are available for priority districts that include high-need school districts and disadvantaged communities, as defined by the New York State Climate Justice Working Group. Additional incentives are also available for fleets removing internal combustion engine buses from operation, purchasing wheelchair-accessible buses, or purchasing buses with vehicle-to-grid capability.

The program also provides rebates to eligible school bus fleet operators who purchase and install eligible charging infrastructure in association with newly purchased zero-emission school buses. School bus fleet owners (the school district or their contractor) are also eligible to receive $25,000 per bus for charging infrastructure, or $35,000 if they serve a priority district. Fleet owners that have completed electrification plans are eligible to receive $55,000 per bus for charging infrastructure, or $65,000 if they serve a priority district. Vehicle manufacturers and bus dealers can also continue to apply to offer their vehicles on a rolling basis.

Program eligibility and rules for charging infrastructure funding are available online through the NYSBIP Implementation Manual. NYSERDA will accept applications on a rolling basis until funding is exhausted under the current round and will accept applications under future rounds as it oversees the distribution of the Bond Act’s additional $400 million earmarked for zero-emission school buses and infrastructure. Schools and school bus contractors do not apply to the program directly. School bus dealers apply on their behalf after they have issued purchase orders for their electric buses. Incentives for school buses are disbursed directly to dealers and manufacturers to offset some or all of the difference in purchase price between zero-emission school buses and comparable diesel or gas-powered buses while charging infrastructure incentives are issued directly to the fleet owner. To share more information about the NYSBIP process and new charging incentives, NYSERDA will host a webinar on December 11, 2023, at 3 pm ET (register here). For continued program updates, please join our mailing list here.

The Bond Act requires that disadvantaged communities receive no less than 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefit of total Bond Act funds. In line with this goal, NYSERDA will aim to ensure at least 40 percent of the New York School Bus Incentive Program benefits disadvantaged communities. Buses domiciled in priority districts are eligible for higher incentive amounts in support of new zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure.

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