CONTACT: Sasha Tenenbaum
Senior Manager, Media and Public Engagement
Pennsylvania—Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the recipients of the first round of funding distributed by the Clean School Bus Program, a $5 billion, 5-year investment in clean school buses for our nation’s children as allocated under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law passed by Congress in 2021.
Moms Clean Air Force worked tirelessly in Pennsylvania and beyond to educate local school districts about the importance of replacing dirty diesel buses with zero-tailpipe-pollution electric buses and to help districts through the application process this summer.
This initial round of funding includes $34 million for 11 Pennsylvania school districts. The funding will provide 89 clean school buses for the state.
In response, the Moms Clean Air Force’s Pennsylvania Chapter issued the following statements:
“Iconic yellow school buses are the means of transportation for millions of school children each day. School buses amount to the nation’s largest public transportation fleet—about half a million vehicles,” said Vanessa Lynch, a Moms Clean Air Force Pennsylvania Coordinator near Pittsburgh. “Research shows with diesel bus engines the air inside a school bus can be more polluted than the air outside of it. Tailpipe pollution can reduce children’s ability to learn, harm little lungs, contribute to cancer, and diminish clean air in communities. Our kids, our bus drivers, and our communities are ecstatic about the opportunity to breathe cleaner air.”
“Electric school buses will help to reduce diesel emissions in areas with high traffic pollution around the state. These emissions have been shown to have a larger impact on children’s health as they take more breaths and their hearts beat at a faster rate than adults,” said Brooke Petry, a Moms Clean Air Force Pennsylvania Coordinator in Philadelphia. “My child and I both suffer from asthma, as do over a million people in the commonwealth, and the more we can reduce the pollution in the state, the easier we breathe.”
“Diesel pollution is contributing to ozone pollution and climate change,” said Rachel Meyer, the Ohio River Valley Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, living in Southwest Pennsylvania. “As a parent whose child will be heading to school in a few years, I look forward to seeing the Clean School Bus Program change the way children ride to school, the air they breathe, and the climate we all live in.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $5 billion to help school districts buy electric school buses. The law charged EPA with distributing the funds over 5 years. School districts submitted the first round of funding applications this August. EPA received so much interest in the grant program that the agency doubled the amount of funding to be distributed this year, to nearly $1 billion nationwide.
Pennsylvania districts that will receive funding in the first year are Avella Area, Greater Nanticoke Area, Halifax Area, Harrisburg City, Mifflin County, Northern Potter, Scranton, Southern Tioga, Steelton-Highspire, Troy Area, and Washington.
The initial round of funding prioritized low-income, rural, and Tribal school districts. However, all school districts are eligible for funding. EPA will be awarding more money in future years, including $1 billion anticipated for fiscal year 2023. All school districts, whether selected this round or not, should apply for future rounds of funding.