New buses reduce Pa. schoolchildren’s exposure to air pollutants

Dauphin County is one of 11 Pennsylvania school districts to receive funding for new, clean school buses aimed at reducing schoolchildren’s exposure to air pollutants, Gov. Tom Wolf announced. 

A total of $34.6 million has been awarded for 89 new school buses to districts across the state. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the EPA Clean School Bus Program with a $5 billion investment for low- and zero-emission school buses over the next five years. This is the first round of funding. 

“Families rely on school buses to safely transport their children to and from school and related activities,” Wolf said. “We ensure that these buses are safe and that should include safe for our children’s lungs and environment. I thank President Biden for prioritizing pollution reduction and clean energy as part of his broad and comprehensive infrastructure investments. These new buses will decrease air pollution around schools and for schoolchildren.” 

Dauphin County received the following grants: 

Halifax Area School District, Rohrer Enterprises Inc., $1.97 million for five buses 

Harrisburg City School District, Wolfington Body Company Inc., $3.95 million for 10 buses 

Steelton-Highspire School District, $2.58 million for seven buses 

“These investments into clean vehicles will pay dividends for these districts, saving them on fuel costs and improving air quality,” Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh said. 

Grant funding for clean diesel and electric school buses are also available for school districts through several DEP programs. The Driving PA Forward program has grants available for Class 8 clean diesel and electric vehicles, including school buses. Grants for school districts for alternative fuel and electric vehicles are also offered through the Alternative Fuels Incentive program, as are grants for alternative fuel refueling and electric vehicle charging stations. 

“Thousands of school buses transport students to and from school each day in cities and towns across the commonwealth, so these grants will go a long way toward reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring reliable, safe, and clean transportation for Pennsylvania’s most precious cargo – our children,” Pennsylvania Department of Education Acting Secretary Eric Hagarty said. 

Pennsylvania has openings for an additional 2,000 to 3,000 school bus drivers.