DEARBORN — Dearborn and Ypsilanti will receive more than $11 million in federal funds to purchase electric school buses.
The money comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean School Bus program to curb diesel air pollution. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) announced the funding this week.
Dearborn Public Schools will receive $7,110,000 for 18 buses, and Ypsilanti Community Schools will receive $3,950,000 for 10 buses.
“We know that diesel exhaust from school buses has a negative impact not only on our environment, but on the health of our children, teachers, bus drivers and the surrounding communities,” Dingell said. “With this funding from the EPA Clean School Bus program, Dearborn and Ypsilanti will be able to take diesel buses off the roads, reducing our carbon emissions and ensuring the air our children breathe on the way to school is cleaner and free from dangerous pollutants.”
The Clean School Bus Program is meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution 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, Dingell’s office said.
Officials say phasing out these 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 the bus replacements should also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.
“By replacing older, heavily polluting buses, EPA is making clean school buses the American standard,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “Students deserve to live a life free from the burdens of pollution, just as they deserve to learn and grow in a healthy school environment.”
The awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by the Infrastructure Law passed by Congress. The EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include a grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, the EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in the next fiscal year. The EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.