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Government announces new $1B grant program to make electrifying changes to schools and communities across America: 'Will make a tangible difference'

"Will secure our nation's position as a global leader in clean technologies."

"Will secure our nation's position as a global leader in clean technologies."

Photo Credit: iStock

The Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a $1 billion grant program to replace gas- and diesel-powered school buses and other heavy-duty vehicles with electric vehicles

According to an EPA news release, the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program will provide generous grants to finance the adoption and commission of eligible Class 6 and 7 zero-emission vehicles. The grants will also fund heavy-duty EV charging stations and workforce development and training. 

The Inflation Reduction Act, which provided funds for the program, requires that at least $400 million be allocated to disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected by air pollution, as defined by EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

"The Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to electrifying our largest vehicles – our school buses, transit buses, garbage trucks, semi-trucks, and others – will make a tangible difference for kids, school bus drivers, truck drivers, and communities living closest to highly trafficked roads and highways," Sierra Club's director of the Clean Transportation for All campaign Katherine García said in a press release.

As the EPA reported, the transportation sector contributes the greatest share of direct planet-warming pollution, with diesel-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks having an outsized impact. They release dangerous pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, ground-level ozone, and particulate matter. 

The agency explained diesel exhaust exposure could cause asthma and other respiratory conditions and worsen lung and cardiovascular disease, particularly among children, older adults, those with pre-existing conditions, and lower-income individuals.

Replacing polluting school buses and heavy-duty trucks with electric vehicles will improve health across communities, reduce noise and air pollution, and provide job opportunities in the clean energy industry. 

The EPA divided the grant program into two separate competitions:

• The School Bus Sub-Program for applicants replacing school buses (which will receive 70% of funding)
• The Vocational Vehicles Sub-Program for applicants replacing non-school bus Class 6 and 7 vehicles — including box trucks, garbage and waste collection trucks, street sweepers, delivery trucks, bucket trucks, and utility trucks (which will receive 30% of grants)

Eligible parties can apply for the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program until July 25. The EPA plans to announce the winners by the end of 2024.

"President Biden and his entire administration are working to ensure every community can breathe clean air. EPA's Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program will slash climate and air pollution and enhance the country's infrastructure by funding the deployment of zero-emissions vehicles and installation of supporting infrastructure," EPA administrator Michael S. Regan said in the EPA news release

"The program's historic investment in zero-emission vehicles will secure our nation's position as a global leader in clean technologies that address the impacts of climate change."

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