The 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program, which promotes the replacement of school buses with clean and zero-emission models, is open for applications through Jan. 31.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has updated the guidance and application process for the program, which is funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Eligible applicants include local or state governmental entities responsible for providing school bus service to one or more public school systems or responsible for the purchase, lease, license or contract for service of school buses.

Also eligible to apply are third-party contractors that have the capacity to sell, lease, license or contract for service clean or zero-emission school buses or related charging or fueling infrastructure to school bus owners; or arrange financing for such a sale, lease, license or contract for service.

For the 2023 program, the EPA anticipates offering at least $500 million in total funding, though it may adjust this total depending on demand and other considerations.

School districts applying directly for funds may submit only one application to replace up to 25 buses. Districts that contract with multiple private fleets may list more than one private fleet in their application.

Other eligible applicants may submit multiple applications, but each application must be for buses serving a different school district.

The maximum rebate amount per bus is dependent on:
• The replacement bus fuel type
• The replacement bus size
• Whether the school district served by the buses is prioritized

Applicants are able to request up to $20,000 per bus in additional funds for ADA-compliant replacement buses equipped with wheelchair lifts.

Selectees may be eligible for Inflation Reduction Act tax credits applicable to their bus and infrastructure purchases — namely, the Commercial Clean Vehicle Credit, which provides up to $40,000 for qualified commercial clean vehicles, and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit, which provides up to $100,000 for qualified charging and refueling infrastructure.

In the 2023 program, funding can also be used for costs associated with workforce training for drivers, mechanics, electricians and other essential personnel.

High-need school districts, rural school districts, Bureau of Indian Affairs-funded school districts, and school districts that receive basic support payments for children who reside on Indian land will be prioritized.

For more details, including bus eligibility, visit the 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program website. Questions may be submitted through through Jan. 10, 2024.

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