LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) — Diesel buses are being phased out in Michigan as school districts prepare to receive $24 million in federal funds for electric and low-emission alternatives. Announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 29, this funding is part of a five-year, $5 billion program established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, aimed at cutting emissions and improving air quality for schoolchildren.

The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is dedicated to eliminating older, high-emission school buses. This recent funding supplements previous awards in Michigan, including $52.6 million allocated last year to replace 136 buses. Additionally, in January, Detroit, Lansing, and Pontiac schools each received $5.6 million to further these efforts.

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The grants will benefit a wide range of districts, from Gwinn Area Schools in the Upper Peninsula, which serves about 1,000 students, to Ann Arbor Public Schools, which serves over 17,000 students. Nationally, the EPA has awarded nearly $3 billion to replace approximately 8,500 school buses at over 1,000 schools.

About 92% of the new buses funded in this round will be electric, with the rest using propane or compressed natural gas—both less polluting than diesel. This move supports the growing electric school bus industry in the U.S. As of June 2023, only 1,285 of the 450,000 school buses in the U.S. were electric, though orders and commitments for an additional 4,697 buses are in place, which will more than quadruple the current number.

According to MLive, Michigan is also taking further steps independently. On May 28, the state announced $125 million in funds to help schools replace their oldest diesel buses with new electric models and other cleaner alternatives. Applications for the Michigan Clean Bus Energy Grant funds are due by July 12, offering grants that can cover 70% to 90% of the cost for new buses and charging infrastructure, with more funding available for high-need districts.

List of Michigan Recipients:

  • Grand Rapids Public Schools: $5.2 million
  • Kent Intermediate School District: $3.1 million
  • Trenton Public Schools: $2 million
  • Ludington Area Schools: $1.2 million
  • Ann Arbor Public Schools: $800,000
  • Lansing Public Schools: $1.73 million
  • Pellston Public Schools: $200,000
  • Au Gres: $345,000
  • Traverse City: $200,000
  • Allen Park Public Schools: $1.04 million
  • Anchor Bay School District: $600,000
  • Brown City Community Schools: $345,000
  • Cass City Public Schools: $690,000
  • Chippewa Valley Schools: $400,000
  • Comstock Public Schools: $400,000
  • Kentwood Public Schools: $800,000
  • Northville Public Schools: $200,000
  • Saline Area Schools: $600,000
  • Southfield Public School District: $220,000
  • Stockbridge Community Schools: $800,000
  • The Dearborn Academy: $1.04 million
  • Three Rivers Community Schools: $400,000
  • Troy School District: $400,000
  • Vanderbilt Area Schools: $200,000
  • Woodhaven-Brownstown School District: $400,000

Two additional districts, Lamphere Public Schools and North Adams-Jerome Public Schools, were tentatively selected for funding, pending final documentation, to receive $400,000 and $1 million, respectively, for their bus replacements.