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Federal funding to grant Pa. schools clean-energy buses

A school bus with a lightning bold on the front.
Eric Gay
A Lion electric school bus is seen on display in Austin, Texas, Feb. 22, 2023. Thanks to federal grants, 2,737 buses across 280 school districts nationwide will be replaced with electric ones.

Five Pennsylvania school districts will receive 120 clean energy school buses through federal grants, helping to phase out diesel engines and reduce health risks.

Selected school districts include Pittsburgh Public Schools, Laurel Highlands School District in Fayette County, New Castle Area School District in Lawrence County, the School District of Philadelphia and William Penn School District in Delaware County.

“Clean school buses ensure our children are breathing cleaner air, which will set them up with a brighter and healthier future,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in a press release. “The infrastructure law is continuing to deliver for Pennsylvania and helping us build a cleaner, brighter future for our children.”

The nearly $1 billion bus funding is the second wave of a five-year rollout through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus program, part of President Joe Biden’s Invest in America agenda.

“The traditional yellow school buses that so many of us remember rely on internal combustion engines that emit toxic pollution into the air,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a press conference on Monday. “Not only are these pollutants harmful to the environment, but they can also be harmful to the health and well-being of every student, every bus driver, and every resident in surrounding communities.”

2,737 buses across 280 school districts nationwide will be replaced with this funding.

“Zero emission school buses can and one day will be the American standard, and we're hitting the accelerator on a cleaner and healthier future for all,” Regan said.

The EPA is accepting new applications for the Clean School Bus Rebate program until Jan. 31.

Erin Yudt is an intern newsroom production assistant and senior at Point Park University majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology. She’s originally from Sharpsville, about an hour north of the ‘Burgh. Erin is the current editor-in-chief of Point Park’s student-run newspaper The Globe, an apprentice for the Point Park News Service and news director for the student-run radio station WPPJ. She has interned for PublicSource, Trib Total Media and The Sharon Herald.