$12 million in rebates for clean school buses in Tennessee

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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Some Tennessee school districts are among 41 in the Southeast receiving funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus rebate program.

Created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the program invests $5 billion through 2026 to replace older, diesel school buses with cleaner alternatives.

Dory Larsen, senior electric transportation program manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said the rebate program transforms how school districts transport the state’s most precious residents.

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“In the United States, transportation and electricity generation are the leading sources of both unhealthy air and also pollutants that cause climate change,” Larsen pointed out. “This amount of funding coming to Tennessee is $12 million, coming to several school districts to bring 37 electric school buses.”

Larsen noted eight districts got EPA funding to order their electric school buses and charging infrastructure, which is crucial for under-resourced districts. The buses are set to roll out for the 2025 school year. Across the Southeast, more than 300 electric buses will be deployed, part of 3,400 nationwide.

Larsen emphasized kids who ride electric buses to school are getting a healthier trip, since the buses are zero-emission and do not have a tailpipe.

“We know that diesel exhaust exposes children to dangerous pollution that can impact their developing lungs, their well-being,” Larsen explained. “Studies have shown that it impacts school attendance and even academic performance.”

Larsen added electric school buses have less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of diesel or propane-burning buses, which helps lower the risk of a warming planet.