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California to Spend $150 Million to Electrify School Buses

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California is spending $150 million this upcoming school year to help schools transition gas-fueled school buses to those that are electric.

The endeavor is a part of the governor’s plan to achieve net-zero carbon pollution by 2045. Funding for the new vehicles will come from the California Climate Commitment, a multi-billion-dollar investment that began last year in climate initiatives that include $10 billion in consumer incentives to switch to electric vehicles.

“California schools have already replaced hundreds of old polluting school buses with new zero-emission models—protecting thousands of kids from harmful diesel pollution,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a July 7 statement. “We’re getting more kids on clean school buses while paving the way for the rest of the country to follow our lead.”

School districts can apply for the program until Sept. 29 and receive up to $495,000 for the new purchases.

Each electric bus can cost between $285,000 and $395,000, according to California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, with charging station equipment, which can charge up to four vehicles at a time, costing up to $100,000.

The program prioritizes districts located in low-income and disadvantaged communities, according to the state’s Education Department. Districts will be required to scrap an old school bus for every new one purchased.

Last year, 81 school districts purchased more than 300 zero-emission buses with the state’s support from the incentive project, according to Newsom’s office.

Additionally, there are more than 560 clean school buses currently operating on California roads—327 of which are in the state’s most pollution-burdened communities, Newsom’s office said, with 1,200 more on order.

So far, California has invested more than $1.2 billion to replace old bus fleets with those that are electric, with an additional $1.8 billion pledged over the next five years.

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