Padilla Announces $88 Million in New Funding to Electrify California School Buses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) announced that California was awarded $88 million to purchase electric buses across the state. The funding comes through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program, which was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and modeled after the Clean Commute for Kids Act that Padilla introduced in 2021. The Clean School Bus Program will provide $5 billion over five years to support the transition to zero-emission and low-emission school buses.

Over 400,000 public school buses travel more than 4.3 billion miles each year to help 23.5 million children get to and from school, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“A successful day of learning for our students starts with a diesel-free commute each morning,” said Senator Padilla. “I’ve seen firsthand the harmful health and respiratory impacts polluted air from outdated buses can cause our children, having grown up riding diesel-powered school buses in Pacoima. Modernizing our bus system is a crucial investment in our children, our health, and our environment. That is why I championed the inclusion of the Clean School Bus Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is now helping California schools make the much-needed transition to electric bus fleets.”

Educational districts receiving Clean School Bus Program Awards include:

  • Los Angeles Unified: 50 buses
  • Kern High School District: 39 buses
  • Porterville Unified: 35 buses
  • San Diego Unified: 30 buses

Two third-party companies that contract with California school districts to provide bus services also received grants. Zum Services, Inc., received funding for buses for the Los Angeles Unified, San Francisco Unified, Alameda Unified, and Oakland Unified School Districts. First Student, Inc. received funding for buses for Long Beach Unified School District, Palm Springs Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Fallbrook Union, Orange County Department of Education, and Los Angeles County Office of Education.

The full list of Clean School Bus Awards is available here.

Senator Padilla has pushed tirelessly to transition diesel-powered buses to zero-emission vehicles, including through his bicameral Clean Commute For Kids Act. Padilla and the bill co-leads, Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29) and Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05), also called on EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young to include at least $300 million in additional funding for zero-emission school buses through the Clean School Bus Program in the President’s 2024 budget request.


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