NYSERDA Announces Release of Draft Eligibility Guidelines to Advance Zero-Emission School Bus Environmental Bond Act Investments
Public Comments Accepted Until Friday, September 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.
August 3, 2023
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today released proposed eligibility guidelines for public comment for the Public School Bus Electrification Program being designed under the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. The draft criteria guiding at least $500 million for zero-emission school buses and infrastructure will assist municipalities applying for funding for projects that will reduce pollution and provide cleaner air for children and communities. This announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050 and New York State’s requirement that all school buses sold in New York State be zero emission by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero emission by 2035.
Doreen M. Harris, CEO and President, NYSERDA said, “The Environmental Bond Act provides a critical opportunity for all New Yorkers to provide input that helps shape programming for the benefit of communities across the state – including those historically left behind. Today’s release of the Public School Bus Electrification Program draft eligibility guidelines is an important step forward in ensuring that students have increased access to clean and healthy transportation as part of the State’s directive that all school buses on the road be zero emission by 2035 and NYSERDA looks forward to working with our partners to build this program of the future.”
The Public School Bus Electrification Program will be a New York State-wide point-of-sale voucher program that provides discounts to eligible school bus fleet operators that purchase or lease zero-emission battery electric (BEV) or hydrogen fuel cell electric (FCEV) school buses and associated charging infrastructure. The program currently contemplates that vouchers will be disbursed directly to dealers and manufacturers to offset some or all of the incremental cost of eligible buses (the difference in purchase price between zero-emission school buses and comparable diesel or gas-powered buses).
Charging infrastructure incentives may be disbursed directly to fleet operators. Funding may also be made available for eligible fleets to develop fleet electrification plans to inform electric school bus purchases. School buses must meet all current federal and New York State safety guidelines. The Bond Act requires that disadvantaged communities shall receive no less than 35%, with a goal of 40%, of the benefit of total Bond Act funds. In line with this goal, NYSERDA will aim to ensure at least 40% of the Public School Bus Electrification Program benefits disadvantaged communities. Buses domiciled in or serving disadvantaged communities and/or high-need school districts will receive consideration for higher incentive amounts.
For a complete list of eligible project specifications, please visit the Environmental Notice Bulletin web page. Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 1, 2023. Submit written comments to Vincent Riscica, NYSERDA, 1359 Broadway, New York, NY 10018 Email: [email protected].
On November 8, 2022, New Yorkers overwhelmingly approved the Environmental Bond Act. State agencies, local governments, and partners will be able to access funding to protect water quality, help communities adapt to climate change, improve resiliency, and create green jobs. Bond Act funding will support new and expanded projects across the state to safeguard drinking water sources, reduce pollution, and protect communities and natural resources from climate change.
An inter-agency working group comprised of multiple state agencies is currently identifying needs for environmental funding across the state and developing program logistics, including additional eligibility guidelines for how projects will be selected and delivered, through a transparent and collaborative process. The first outcome of these efforts was the eligibility guidelines to help administer water infrastructure funding supported by both the Environmental Bond Act and the Water Infrastructure Improvement and Intermunicipal Grants programs. The draft school bus eligibility guidelines now out for comment enables the public to weigh in on the implementation of Bond Act funding.
During Earth Week this year, Governor Hochul announced a statewide educational listening tour to provide New Yorkers with information on Bond Act funding. Information on upcoming sessions is available on the Environmental Bond Act website.
Today’s announcement complements Governor Hochul’s ongoing investments in clean transportation. New York is investing more than $1 billion in zero-emissions vehicles over the next five years and adopting clean car and clean truck regulations that require 100 percent ZEV passenger car and light-duty truck sales by 2035. Active light-duty vehicle initiatives include zero-emission vehicle purchase rebates through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Drive Clean Rebate Program, zero-emission vehicle and charging infrastructure grants through DEC's Climate Smart Communities Municipal Grant Program, as well as the "EV Make Ready" initiative, NYPA's EVolve NY charging infrastructure program, NYSERDA’s Charge Ready 2.0 for Level 2 charging infrastructure, and Department of Transportation’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) charging infrastructure program to help expand electric vehicle use. Active medium- and heavy-duty truck initiatives include zero-emission truck purchase vouchers through the New York Truck Voucher Program (NYTVIP) and the New York City Clean Trucks Program, the "EV Make Ready" initiative to help expand electric vehicle use, fleet assessment services, and the $24 million Electric Truck and Bus Prize Challenge under the $85 million New York Clean Transportation Prizes.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.
Kristin Legere, Sr. Communications Manager
Email: [email protected]