School buses by John Picken Photo via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Wisconsin will receive a total of $25.8 million in federal funds to purchase 72 new electric school buses across 19 school districts, according to an announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The investment is a part of the agency’s Clean School Bus program, which focuses on replacing existing school buses with zero- and low-emission buses. The program — which is being funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure law — will invest a total of $5 billion over the next five years.
“As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution,” Michael S. Regan, the EPA administrator, said in the release. “This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”
The program aims to address environmental concerns by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing cleaner air, while also helping school districts save money. Recipients were chosen via a lottery system, though the program is prioritizing low-income, rural and tribal communities. According to the release, 99% of the school districts selected serve these students.
Wisconsin school districts receiving money are located across the state, with a few northern districts receiving almost half the funding. Minocqua J1 School District will receive $4.7 million for 12 buses, the most of any district in the state. Lac du Flambeau #1 School District and Lakeland Union High School District will each receive $3.95 million to cover 10 buses for their district.
For the first round of funding, the EPA is awarding $965 million to be used to purchase over 2,400 school buses across the country. Midwest states, including Wisconsin, will make up around a fifth of that funding.
“This is one more way that demonstrates Midwest school administrators care about their kids. These federal dollars awarded will help get more children riding to and from school on quiet zero emission buses that are good for their health and for their communities,” said Susan Mudd, a policy advocate for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, in a release.
Several other midwestern states will receive substantial investments for clean buses, including Michigan, which will receive $54 million for 138 buses, and Illinois which will receive $48.3 million for 123 buses.
Some of the other awarded Wisconsin districts include: five buses for Lomira School District, six buses for Palmyra-Eagle Area School District Augusta School District, five buses for Mondovi School District and five buses for Granton School District.
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