Federal grant program awards $26.7M for North Carolina school buses

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(The Center Square) – North Carolina has taken another step toward continuing to supplant internal combustion engine public school buses with electric.

Another 114 are ticketed for replacement through $26.7 million from taxpayers. Every region of the state is represented among recipients from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Grant Program.

Sixty-five of them, however, will be in Durham Public Schools (38) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (27).

The EPA says the program since inception has awarded more than $1.8 billion to replace 5,103 buses across the country. This has benefitted 652 school districts. The program is scheduled for five years, through fiscal year 2026, with $5 billion in award funds.

“This investment is good for our students, schools, economy and planet and I appreciate the Biden administration for investing in our communities across North Carolina,” Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said in a release.

North Carolina was a recipient for 31 buses in 2022. Also in the same year with $30.1 million in settlement money from Volkswagen, the second-term governor directed $13.6 million for 118 diesel models and $16.5 million into the 43 electric.

Other district school systems, or charter schools, that will received electric buses on this award cycle are Cherokee Central (15), Kannapolis City (eight), Bertie County (four), Maureen Joy Charter in Durham (four), Emereau: Bladen Charter (three), KIPP Durham College Prep (three), Cumberland County (two), Granville (two), KIPP Halifax College Prep (two), Madison County (two), Richmond County (two), Johnston County (one) and Reaching All Minds Academy in Durham (one).

The Clean School Bus Grant Program is part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law Nov. 15, 2021 by President Joe Biden. That measure was supported in Congress by Democratic Reps. Alma Adams, G.K. Butterfield, Kathy Manning, David Price and Deborah Ross and opposed by Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, and GOP Reps. Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Patrick McHenry, Dr. Greg Murphy and David Rouzer.

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