Press Release

Midwest School Districts Awarded Nearly 400 Electric School Buses in First Round of Historic EPA Clean School Bus Program

ELPC will work to ensure more children in the Midwest get the clean rides to school they deserve.

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced school district recipients of the first round of federal funding of its Clean School Bus Program totaling $965 million, with those in the Midwest representing more than one-fifth of all those awarded electric school buses nationwide. The 5-year, $5 billion program was created as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

Map shows Midwest states receiving 384 electric school buses in the first round of EPA funding, to 80 school districts across the regionThe Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) helped spread the word to school districts across six states in the Midwest’s EPA Region 5 and Iowa in EPA Region 7 about the significant health benefits of zero emission electric school buses compared to polluting diesel buses in use and shared information about how to apply for funding from the new EPA program.

“We’re proud that school districts in the Midwest submitted more applications for electric school bus funding than any other region of the country,” said Susan Mudd, ELPC Senior Policy Advocate. “This is one more way that demonstrates Midwest school administrators care about their kids. These federal dollars awarded will help get more children riding to and from school on quiet zero emission buses that are good for their health and for their communities. We look forward to working with both school districts that were awarded grants to implement their new buses and with more school districts in the region that consider applying for funding in upcoming rounds.”

Nationally, 369 school districts will receive federal rebates for electric school buses from this first round, which represents 95% of the total funding so far. Eighty of those school districts that will get electric school buses are located in six states in the Midwest’s EPA Region 5 and one in EPA Region 7. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Michigan: 25 school districts will receive funding for 138 electric school buses
  • Illinois: 15 school districts will receive funding for 123 electric school buses
  • Wisconsin: 15 school districts will receive funding for 65 electric school buses
  • Ohio: 5 school districts will receive funding for 13 electric school buses
  • Indiana: 5 school districts will receive funding for 13 electric school buses
  • Minnesota: 3 school districts will receive funding for 4 electric school buses
  • Iowa: 12 school districts will receive funding for 28 electric school buses

Additionally, ELPC has been helping school districts across the Midwest since 2017 navigate the application process to receive funding for electric school buses from the $2.7 billion Volkswagen Diesel Emission Mitigation Fund that was established by the automaker after the Dieselgate scandal. ELPC and partners successfully advocated for a handful of Midwest state agencies administering the VW settlement funds to set aside carve-outs for electric school buses.

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