New York Announces $100M for Zero-Emission School Buses

Oct. 3, 2023
The funding aims to help school districts and bus operators transition away from fossil fuel buses, reduce emissions, and make zero-emission buses more affordable

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the availability of $100 million statewide for zero-emission school buses as part of the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.

The funding is aimed at helping school districts and bus operators transition away from fossil fuel buses, reduce emissions, and make zero-emission buses more affordable. It aligns with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 and Hochul’s initiative for all new school buses in New York State to be zero-emission by 2027 and all buses on the road to be zero-emission by 2035.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has released program rules, launching the pre-application process for bus manufacturers and dealers to qualify for the New York School Bus Incentive Program (NYSBIP). This program will allocate a total of $500 million for zero-emission school buses and infrastructure. The application process will open on November 29, 2023, with a webinar scheduled for October 11, 2023, to provide detailed information about NYSBIP goals, guidelines, and timelines.

The NYSBIP offers point-of-sale incentives to eligible school bus fleet operators for purchasing zero-emission battery electric (BEV) or hydrogen fuel cell electric (FCEV) school buses and associated charging infrastructure. These incentives aim to offset the cost difference between zero-emission and traditional buses. Additionally, the program prioritizes disadvantaged communities, aiming to direct at least 40% of its benefits toward them.

“The commitment of public funds and guidance released today puts New York State schools and bus operators on a trajectory to embrace clean transportation and the benefits that it will bring,” Governor Hochul said. “Zero-emission buses will become a hallmark, not only transporting students through our communities, but also demonstrating the promise and possibility of a healthier, environmentally friendly, low-carbon future for our youngest citizens.”

The announcement follows Hochul’s recent release of the New York State Electric School Bus Roadmap and the Electric School Bus Guidebook, offering essential technical assistance to school districts and bus operators as they transition to zero-emission vehicles. These resources particularly target disadvantaged communities and high-need school districts.

Additionally, Hochul has initiated the construction of 53 overhead electric bus chargers at Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) depots across New York City. These chargers will support the MTA’s growing zero-emissions bus fleet, contributing to reduced carbon emissions and serving as a model for other urban bus fleets.