On April 24th, The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has announced $400 million dollars in funding to incentivize and accelerate the replacement of existing school buses with clean school buses, including propane buses! This is the first grant funding opportunity through the multi-year funding program and follows the 2022 CSB Rebate Program, which was the first round of funding. Under the 2023 Grant Program, the EPA anticipates awarding approximately $400 million in competitive grant funding to eligible applicants for the purchase of zero-emission (ZE) school buses, clean school buses, and ZE charging infrastructure.
Propane buses are eligible for up to $35,000 per bus. While the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) continues to fight for increased funding, we are glad to see a small but incremental advancement towards parity with electric buses: between 2022 and 2023, propane bus funding rose an average of 19% across categories, electric rose an average of 4.25%, and CNG stayed flat with no increases.
This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) includes two sub-programs, one for school district and Tribal applicants (School District Sub-program) and one for third-party applicants (Third-Party Sub-program). EPA is providing two separate competitions under this single NOFO to address the unique needs and concerns of diverse recipients and encourage participation in the CSB grants program.
EPA is prioritizing applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, rural areas, Tribal school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and public school districts receiving basic support payments for students living on Tribal land, and rural areas. In addition, EPA is committed to ensuring the CSB Program delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative that at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.