The opportunity to transition diesel school buses in Minnesota to clean, zero-emission school buses is right now! With the recent announcement of $1 billion annually in funding from the EPA beginning in Spring 2022, schools will be able to apply for help to make zero-emission school buses a reality in our communities.
If you’re on this page because you’re a school employee or contractor interested in applying for the EPA loans, check out our Resources for Electric School Bus Applications. Our team is happy to meet with you to connect you with any resources you may need.
Questions on anything? Don’t see the information you need on this webpage? Email email@example.com — We’re more than happy to help!
MN350 is part of the Coalition for Clean Transportation, a team of Minnesota-based clean energy, environmental, and social justice advocacy groups working on transportation improvement. As part of this coalition, MN350 wants to support schools in the transition from dirty diesel buses to zero-emission school buses as part of a larger goal to transition all vehicles large and small to zero emissions. That’s why we created this page as a resource. We want to support schools, contractors, tribes, and communities interested in electrifying their school bus fleets.
As part of our advocacy, our team approached Governor Walz, the MPCA, and MNDOT to discuss how to make it easier for schools to apply and receive grants, but there’s little political will right now in Minnesota to fully support the school bus application process, so we wanted to focus instead on connecting:
1) people that want to see their school districts take advantage of this funding opportunity and
2) schools to resources that will help them to apply and receive the available grants.
If you have any questions or want to connect with others in your school district on electric buses or need advice on how to approach your school board, please reach out to our team at this email:
Information For Electric School Bus Supporters:
Why Transition to Electric Buses? Key Facts:
Electric School Bus and Health:
Other Interesting Facts:
How Do I Contact My School?
For those looking for a template letter to contact their school board, superintendent, and transportation manager, here’s a link to a template letter.
Information For Schools:
As our advocacy team has spoken with schools, school boards, and others about this funding opportunity for zero-emission buses, we’ve received a few responses that show there are misconceptions about the new EPA program. We want to address these concerns so that schools and contractors don’t have believe that this funding is out of reach for their community.
Now that we’ve talked about misconceptions, it’s important to note a few guidelines from the EPA on the program (based on EPA Webinar Info from 3/23/2022):
-high-need school districts
-rural and low-income areas
-State and local governmental entities responsible for: 1) providing bus service to 1 or more public school systems; or 2) the purchase of school buses
-Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, or tribally controlled schools that are responsible for: 1) providing school bus service to 1 or more Bureau of Indian Affars-funded schools; or 2) the purchase of school buses
-Nonprofit School Transportation Associations
Electric School Bus Pilots in MN
In Lakeville, MN, Schmitty & Sons is the first Minnesota bus company to invest in an all-electric bus and has been successfully transporting Lakeville ISD 194 students in their zero-emission bus since 20177. In addition, the MPCA has awarded 5 school districts $2.1 million in grants to purchase 8 electric school buses.11 As part of the Volkswagen Settlement, applications for an additional $4.7 million in MPCA school bus replacement grants will be available12. Note that while the MPCA money is available to only some schools, the new funding is available to all schools. Another important takeaway is that electric school buses are already being used in Minnesota, so we can build on their knowledge and best practices to successfully transition other schools to electric school buses.
How to Apply for EPA Funds:
To learn more about the EPA program, you can visit www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus
The EPA Clean School Bus website offers information on the program and how to apply. The application window hasn’t been officially announced, but the EPA has tentatively said it will accept applications starting in May 2022 for a 3-month period. To learn more about requirements and what’s needed to apply for these grants, you can view past webinars or register for upcoming sessions that detail the program. Bookmark this page to keep up with the latest news on the program and sign up for updates from the EPA at this website.
We want to ensure that your school is prepared to apply for the grant money and that we can support schools across the state, so here’s a summary of the initial recommended steps prior to applying for the EPA grants and how to share your district’s info to help us assist other schools in this process:
Remember that the more Minnesota schools that apply, the more likely that Minnesota will be granted funds!