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State unveils electric school bus transition plan for all districts

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  • Staff Report 

In a bold step towards a greener future, Governor Kathy Hochul has unveiled the New York State Electric School Bus Roadmap and The Electric School Bus Guidebook. Aimed at helping P-12 school districts transition to zero-emission buses, these resources furnish both technical and financial support to remove fossil fuel buses and counter transportation emissions, emphasizing assistance for disadvantaged communities and high-demand school districts.

This move reinforces New York’s commitment under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050. Moreover, it aligns with the state’s mandate for all new school buses to be zero-emission by 2027 and achieve a completely zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. Governor Hochul remarked on the initiative, stressing the necessity to tackle emissions from school buses. “This will enable students and communities across New York to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives,” she said.

The roadmap, set to be updated triennially, provides insights into costs, challenges, and recommendations for transitioning. It sheds light on vehicle selection, procurement, and strategic fleet planning. Among the highlighted details, electric school buses, when paired with state and federal incentives, prove to be as economical as traditional buses. These electric vehicles can efficiently cover the average school route of 80 miles a day, with the majority returning to depots for overnight charging. The accompanying guidebook, set for periodic updates, offers school districts a comprehensive understanding of zero-emission buses, procurement strategies, and charging solutions, with more guides anticipated in 2023. Both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses, touted as the clean bus options for the future, offer significant health advantages by eliminating harmful fumes detrimental to air quality and children’s health.