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Fed $$ Will Help Lower Costs For Buffalo & WNY School Districts To Purchase Dozens Of New, Electric Low And Zero-Emission Buses – Helping Make Transition Easier For Schools That Want To Go Green, Boosting Local Taxpayers & Protecting WNY Children’s Health

Diesel Exhaust From School Buses Not Only Pollutes The Environment, But Has Been Linked To Asthma In Children; Now Thousands Of Children Will Have Cleaner Air When Riding To School

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Buffalo City School District along with Pine Valley Central and Sweet Home Central School Districts in Western New York will receive nearly $13 million in federal rebate funding through the second round of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program. Schumer helped create this program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act to support school districts looking to make the transition to low or no emission buses, helping take the burden off the local taxpayer and making it easier for underserved school districts that otherwise would struggle to afford new buses to upgrade their bus fleet and give kids the clean ride to school they deserve.

“This nearly $13 million federal boost will help power schools in Buffalo and Western NY looking to upgrade their fleet with clean, low- and zero-emission school buses, giving our children the clean commute to school they deserve, not to mention cleaner air for the whole community. Dirty diesel exhaust from buses is linked to asthma and many other negative health conditions that impact our children, especially in cities like Buffalo, and this funding will help ensure we are protecting the health of both our children and the environment in Western New York,” said Senator Schumer. “Thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, as the wheels of the school bus go round and round, carbon emissions and pollution are going to keep going down and down. Together we are helping put Buffalo and Western NY on the road to a better and healthier future for our kids and families.”

Schumer explained that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $5 billion over five years (FY22-26) for the replacement of existing school buses with low and zero-emission school buses and that this is the second round of rebates from that program. Nationwide this third round of funding will support approximately 530 school districts spanning nearly every state to receive more than $900 million in funds to replace older, diesel fueled school buses that have been linked to asthma and other conditions that harm the health of students and surrounding communities. According to the EPA in Western NY, selected school districts include:

  • Buffalo City School District which will receive $8,625,000 for an estimated 25 new electric school buses.
  • Pine Valley Central School District which will receive $2,760,000.
  • Sweet Home Central School District which will receive $1,600,000.

“Buffalo Public Schools has been committed to moving towards electrifying buses for the health and wellbeing of its students and the residents of the city of Buffalo,” Superintendent Dr. Tonja M. Williams said. “I am thankful Senator Schumer has once again supported the Buffalo Public Schools to ensure our district receives this important funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to support electric buses. Given that diesel-fueled school buses have been linked to a number of respiratory illnesses and conditions, the Buffalo Board of Education approved a resolution in August 2023 supporting the district's efforts to collaborate with its transportation partner First Student to use low-emission electric school buses in order to better serve our students and the community. This funding for 25 Electric School Buses will go a long way towards the Buffalo Public Schools' goal of all of our transportation becoming electric."

“These funds will be integral in building the electric fleet at Pine Valley. I am thrilled that we have been awarded funding for electrification while significantly reducing the impact on our taxpayers,” said Pine Valley Superintendent Shanda Duclon. “Rural school districts face several challenges, and transitioning to electric vehicles is one of them.  Because of these funds, our burden to shoulder is much lighter. I want to thank Sen. Schumer for securing these funds and advocating for rural Western NY “

“As a district resident and employee, it has been very important to me to work to secure funds that are available to help support our school,” said Pine Valley Transportation Supervisor Kristin Sercu. “Being able to extend this opportunity to our students and community for a safer, cleaner bus ride is directly aligned with our priorities as a district. I'm excited about the next chapter and am truly grateful to Sen Schumer for the funds that have been made available to Pine Valley.”

"From the moment the electric bus mandate was announced in New York State, the Sweet Home Central School Board of Education made it a priority to meet this mandate in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible," said Sweet Home Superintendent Dr. Michael V. Ginestre. "The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Bus Program was an opportunity for us to meet the priorities of the Board," he continued. "This grant of $1.6 million, secured with the help of Senator Schumer, allows Sweet Home to flip over 10 percent of its bus fleet at a significantly reduced cost to our taxpayers. We want to thank the EPA for approving our application and thank our partners at Highland Bus for their assistance in the application process. Sweet Home will continue to leave no stone unturned in our quest to improve the air quality for our entire school community."

In the funding announced today, Schumer said New York State is expected to get nearly $96 million in federal rebate funding to fund electric buses across the State. Nationwide, these rebates will help school districts purchase over 3,400 clean school buses—92% of which will be electric— to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. Approximately 45% of funding will go to low-income, Tribal, and rural communities and 67% of funds will benefit environmental justice communities. Under the program's multiple grant and rebate funding opportunities to date, the EPA has awarded almost $3 billion to fund approximately 8,500 school bus replacements at over 1,000 schools.

Schumer said that diesel exhaust from old fossil fuel is a major contributor to air quality problems in many communities and has been linked to poor health and asthma, especially for children, whose lungs are not yet fully developed. Now, communities that have been historically underserved in both urban and rural areas, that otherwise likely could not afford new buses will benefit by using the newest and cleanest technologies available.

Schumer has a long history of delivering the fed support needed to boost clean transportation, curb pollution and fight climate change. In January, Schumer announced the Lake Shore Central School District received $7.9 million grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Clean School Bus Program to help the school district to purchase 20 clean school buses and 20 bus charging stations. Schumer also delivered. In October 2022, Schumer announced over $50 million in federal funding through the first round of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for Upstate NY. In addition, Schumer helped deliver $28,947,368 in federal funding for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to purchase 20 modern, cleaner electric buses and expand charging infrastructure for the fleet last year.