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EPA Highlights Nearly $6 Million for Clean School Buses in Pontiac, Michigan

Pontiac students to breathe cleaner air thanks to 15 new electric buses

Image: MeganLeeB via Pixabay
Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Pontiac School District in eastern Michigan as recipients of funding from EPA's Clean School Bus program. The school district will receive up to a total of $5,925,000 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help purchase 15 electric school buses for cleaner air in and around the community. 

EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Director Phil Roosjoined school district leaders on a tour of an electric school bus and highlighted how these vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs. 

“Thanks to the President’s Investing in America Agenda and EPA’s Clean School Bus program, Pontiac School District is providing a healthier environment for its students, bus drivers, and school staff,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Upgrading to electric school buses is a major win for the community and will mean reduced air pollution in and around schools.” 

“Clean and electric school buses protect our children and communities and are a key solution to meeting Michigan’s ambitious climate goals,” said EGLE Director Phil Roos. “I applaud the Biden Administration for investing in Michigan school districts like Pontiac. Prior to the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Michigan had 17 electric school buses, and the federal Clean School Bus program and investments from Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state partners have accelerated Michigan’s transition to a clean energy future. Today, more than 200 clean-powered school buses are on the road or arriving soon in Michigan.”

"The positive impact these buses will bring to the wellbeing of our students and our community as a whole is incredible,” said Dr. Kimberly Leverette, Interim Superintendent. “We are ecstatic to have been selected to be part of this game-changing initiative. Thanks to an outstanding internal team and exceptional partners, I'm excited to say, we're ready to bring 40 electric buses to Pontiac!" 

“Electric school buses are already making a big difference for children across Michigan. These new buses will improve air quality while helping the Pontiac School District cut their transportation costs and keep more resources in the classroom,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow

“Thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law I helped pass, we are providing safer and more efficient transportation options for students in Pontiac who ride the bus to school,” said Sen. Gary Peters. “This is a major investment which will help replace aging school buses, helping to lower emissions and protect both students and staff.” 

“I’m thrilled that students in Pontiac will soon be on their way to school in electric, low-emission buses,” said Rep. Haley Stevens.“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I helped pass, these buses will not only provide critical transportation, but do so without exposing our students and community to dangerous, polluting exhaust. I can’t wait to see these rolling through our streets!” 

“Today, we are celebrating the Pontiac School District for receiving a total of 40 all-electric school buses. The District is adding 15 additional electric school buses to its existing fleet of 25 all-electric buses thanks to the EPA funding under the Clean Bus School Program. This is a school district leading the electric charge in an area needing clean air solutions! It’s also hope and cause for celebration for an entire community of students, bus drivers and residents whose health will no longer be compromised by tailpipe pollution from replaced fossil-fueled buses. More than anything, this achievement speaks to the District’s total commitment to cleaner air and a healthier future for our kids!” said Elizabeth Hauptman from Moms Clean Air Force, a member of the Michigan clean school bus coalition. 

In January, EPA announced the selection of 67 applications totaling nearly $1 billion to support the purchase of over 2,700 clean school buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to selectees in 37 states. Prioritized school districts in low-income, rural, and/or Tribal communities make up approximately 86% of the projects selected for funding. The program delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution. 

In Michigan, EPA is awarding more than $17 million to three school districts to help purchase 45 clean school buses. In addition, Michigan is expected to receive additional funding through third party selectees that are working with multiple states. Michigan’s legislature also included $125 million for clean school buses in the state’s school aid budget, which will support the transition to cleaner buses across the state improving air quality and the health of Michigan’s school children. 

EPA’s $5 billion Clean School Bus Program, created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, includes both a grant program where selected applicants are awarded funds to purchase buses, and a rebate program that allows selectees to receive awards before purchasing eligible buses that replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. Pontiac’s Clean School Bus grant is among the second round of selections announced for the newly created program. EPA will make more funds available for clean school buses in additional rounds of funding.  

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program 

The Clean School Bus Program funds electric buses, producing zero tailpipe emissions, as well as propane and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, resulting in lower tailpipe emissions compared to their older diesel predecessors.  

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts, and produce cleaner air. Air pollution from older diesel engines is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Efforts to minimize the effects of these older diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day.   

The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The Program will benefit school districts as they upgrade to cost saving and fuel-efficient school bus fleets, by replacing existing buses with brand new zero-emission and clean school buses and freeing up needed resources for schools.  

For more information, please email [email protected].  

View the full list of Clean School Bus grantees. 

Contact Information
Macy Pressley ([email protected])


This article first appeared at EPA.gov.

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