Federal funds to charge up nearly 100 new electric buses for Michigan schools

electric buses

By Kyle Kaminski

May 31, 2024

More than two dozen public school districts across Michigan will use funds from President Joe Biden’s administration to purchase 97 electric buses—and three powered by propane.

MICHIGAN—The ride to and from school for thousands of Michigan students will soon become healthier and more environmentally friendly as more than two dozen school districts prepare to shift their bus fleets from gasoline- to electric- and propane-powered models.

And with about $24 million in funding announced this week from President Joe Biden’s administration, 100 of the new buses will be covered entirely through a federal rebate.

Federal officials on Thursday announced the recipients of $900 million in funding through the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Clean School Bus Program” rebate competition, which was funded through a provision included in Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Among the recipients: Twenty-seven school districts in Michigan received a total of $24 million in funding to buy 97 new electric school buses, as well as three new, propane-powered buses.

State officials said Michigan schools had only 17 operational electric buses before the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed. Now, there are more than 200 on the road—with more en route.

“We’re not only upgrading our transportation systems; we’re improving air quality by reducing diesel fumes, safeguarding the health of students and communities across the state,” Michigan Chief Infrastructure Officer Zachary Kolodin said in a statement announcing the federal funding.

Clean-energy buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and reduce health risks among children and the surrounding communities, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research nonprofit organization.

“With this new funding, tens of thousands more children will no longer have to breathe in toxic pollution on their way to and from school. They will have a cleaner ride,” said Gander, Director of the WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative, said in a statement.

Those first 17 buses (and charging stations) for seven school districts were funded through a state grant awarded in 2019 through the Whitmer administration’s Fuel Transformation Program.

In 2022, federal funds from another Biden administration program covered the purchase of an additional 138 electric school buses for 25 more Michigan school districts. The current state budget included another $125 million to help schools transition to electric buses. And earlier this year, another $6 million in federal funding allowed for the purchase of 45 more electric buses.

“President Biden believes every child deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life and breathe clean air, and his Investing in America agenda is designed to deliver just that,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “We are transforming the nation’s school bus fleet to better protect our most precious cargo—our kids—saving school districts money, improving air quality, and bolstering American manufacturing all at the same time.”

Here’s a list of the Michigan schools that are receiving the latest federal funds:

  • Grand Rapids Public Schools — $5.2 million for 15 electric buses.
  • Kent Intermediate School District — $3.1 million for 15 electric buses.
  • Trenton Public Schools — $2 million for 10 electric buses.
  • Lansing School District — $1.7 million for five electric buses.
  • Ludington Area Schools — $1.2 million for six electric buses.
  • Allen Park Public Schools — $1 million for five electric buses.
  • Dearborn Academy — $1. million for three electric buses.
  • Comstock Public Schools — $1. million for three electric buses.
  • Stockbridge Community Schools — $800,000 for four electric buses.
  • Kentwood Public Schools — $800,000 for four electric buses.
  • Ann Arbor Public Schools — $800,000 for four electric buses.
  • Cass City Public Schools — $690,000 for two electric buses.
  • Saline Area Schools — $600,000 for three electric buses.
  • Anchor Bay School District — $600,000 for three electric buses.
  • Chippewa Valley Schools (Clinton Twp.) — $400,000 for two electric buses.
  • Three Rivers Community Schools — $400,000 for two electric buses.
  • Woodhaven-Brownstown School District — $400,000 for two electric buses.
  • Troy School District — $400,000 for two electric buses.
  • Au Gres-Sims School District — $345,000 for one electric bus.
  • Brown City Community Schools — $345,000 for one electric bus.
  • Southfield Public Schools — $220,000 for one electric bus.
  • Northville Public Schools — $200,000 for one electric bus.
  • Vanderbilt Area School — $200,000 for one electric bus.
  • Traverse City Area Public Schools — $200,000 for one electric bus.
  • Pellston Public School — $200,000 for one electric bus.
  • Riverview Community School District — $50,000 for two propane buses.
  • Gwinn Area Community Schools — $35,000 for one propane bus.

READ MORE: Michigan schools to get new pollution-free buses thanks to federal funds

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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