Texas Schools Spending Millions on Electric Buses

Districts are buying the vehicles with grants from a $5 billion Clean Bus Program funded by federal taxpayers.

Erin Anderson | July 5, 2024

Texas school districts are taking advantage of a federal grant program to buy electric buses that will cost taxpayers millions.

The grants are part of a $5 billion Clean Bus Program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Funds for the program were included in the $454 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

According to a January press release from the Biden administration, Texas school districts are slated to receive at least $26 million in taxpayer-funded grants from the EPA program.

Fort Worth Independent School District is expected to receive $6.1 million to purchase 15 electric school buses.

Other Texas school districts selected to receive electric bus subsidies include Alief ISD ($7.9 million for 20 buses), Austin ISD ($6.25 million for 25 buses), and San Antonio ISD ($5.9 million for 15 buses).

Three corporations—Envirotech Vehicles, Lion Electric, and Highland CSB 1, LLC—will receive $78 million from taxpayers to provide electric buses to multiple school districts in Texas and other states.

Fort Worth ISD recently previewed the new buses, manufactured by Georgia-based Blue Bird.

The electric school buses cost $350,000 to $400,000, about four times the cost of diesel buses.

An analysis by the Electric School Bus Initiative determined that electric buses save $100,000 in fuel and maintenance costs over a 15-year lifespan, compared to an equivalent diesel bus.

Even so, the electric buses would still cost school districts far more than their diesel counterparts without massive subsidies from federal taxpayers.

For now, the Biden administration’s subsidies are driving “a boom in electric school bus sales” for Blue Bird and other manufacturers.

The buses have a range of up to 120 miles before they need to be refueled. Recharging takes three to eight hours, depending on the type of charger.

Aside from the cost, Texans are concerned about how the expanded use of electric vehicles will impact the state’s power grid.

The EPA will offer more taxpayer-funded electric bus subsidies in future rounds of grants.

The Clean Bus Program falls within Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of certain federal programs to “disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.”

This article originally appeared here.

Author: KSST Webmaster

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