The ABCs of Electric School Buses: Public Forum Lays Out Benefits of Clean Buses and How to Apply for Funding in NJ
TRENTON – Today at 12 p.m., NJ Sierra Club, Environment New Jersey, NJ Clean Cities Coalition, Charge EVC, the Trenton YMCA and Isles hosted an educational lunch and learn on electric school buses. The educational luncheon provided the opportunity for districts and townships in New Jersey to learn how they can take advantage of state and federal funding from the IRA and IIJA through NJ’s Electric School Bus Program and the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. The event provided information on key grant deadlines, as grants and rebates from these life-saving programs would directly allow local communities in New Jersey to get zero-emission school buses on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
The event’s speaking program included Lily Black from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2, Cathleen Lewis from the NJ Board of Public Utilities, Melissa Evanego from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Mark Warner from ChargeEVC, Rachel Lane from Student Transportation of America, Dawn Neville from Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG), and Chair of the Transportation Commission and Mercer County Executive Assemblyman Dan Benson, as well as Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. The event livestream can be found here.
ChargEVC also released a new report outlining how school districts can use financing to move forward on school bus electrification, in addition to federal and state grants. As Mark Warner, the lead author of the study says, “Interest in electric school buses is very high, but widespread adoption is limited by a series of structural barriers – mostly related to procurement requirements. These barriers can be addressed to allow for private capital that can help finance the electrification transition. The study identifies the changes needed to jump-start the New Jersey market and make electric school buses feasible for all districts equitably.”
Other event sponsors commented on the event;
“Today’s educational forum on electric school buses is an important step toward leveraging the historic levels of federal and state funding from programs like the IRA for real climate solutions in our New Jersey communities and school districts,” said New Jersey Sierra Club Director, Anjuli Ramos-Busot. “It’s time for our New Jersey’s school systems to stop using diesel buses that endanger our health, our communities, and our students. Electric buses are here and ready for deployment, and we encourage community advocates, school districts, and transportation departments to take advantage of this opportunity to electrify our school bus fleets. New Jersey students will not only ride to school on electric buses, but toward a cleaner and safer future for us all.”
“Electric school buses are the future of transportation for students across the state, but too many districts still have a lot of questions on how they can get funding to put clean buses on the road,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “We know dirty diesel pollution is sickening our kids’ lungs, and even hurting academic performance in schools. It’s time to transition to clean electric buses, and the current triple whammy of funds from EPA, the Legislature and NJDEP’s RGGI program can provide districts with the start up dollars they need to make the transition.”
“We are excited about the potential to transition to electric school buses within Trenton and throughout the state,” said Sean Jackson, CEO of Isles. We see vehicle electrification from micro transit, like our GoTrenton! rideshare and workforce shuttle, to the funding discussed today for school buses, as an essential step in protecting our environment and ensuring this clean solution is available for all students!”