State governor announces $100 million dedicated to vital new technology: ‘A win on all fronts’

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that $100 million of funding is available for zero-emission school buses in the state.

The money is offered as part of the state’s Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, and applications can be submitted from Nov. 29.

Governor Hochul has called for all new school bus sales to be zero-emission models by 2027, and it is hoped that a complete phasing out of dirty fuel–powered school buses will be achieved by 2035.

The funding is one of the first steps to achieve those goals, and Governor Hochul is convinced the move to zero emissions will bring a number of benefits to the state and its residents.

“Zero-emission buses will become a hallmark, not only transporting students through our communities, but also demonstrating the promise and possibility of a healthier, environmentally friendly, low-carbon future for our youngest citizens,” she said in a statement.

The governor’s office noted that new zero-emission buses will benefit students and local communities. Pollution from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles can lead to or exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma.

Carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide pollution can lead to cognitive impairments, so arriving at school on a bus that runs on clean electricity will provide a boost for kids in the classroom.

Calling the funding “a win on all fronts,” New York Senator ​​Timothy Kennedy said that “this investment will significantly assist dealers in lowering manufacturing costs and ultimately save school districts millions of dollars.”

The Gates Chili Central School District in Rochester is one of the first in the state to utilize zero-emission buses, and the district’s assistant superintendent for business, Mitchell Ball, has lauded the technology.

“We proudly embrace the move to zero-emission buses, which add value for our families and take steps to address our impact on the environment,” Ball said.

But students across the country could soon benefit from pollution-free travel to school. In May, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced $400 million in funding for low-emission school buses.

Meanwhile, bus manufacturing company Blue Bird, which is responsible for America’s iconic yellow school buses, has built a new facility to provide 5,000 electric school buses a year.

According to data published in the Nature Sustainability journal, 25 million children take the bus to school in the United States, and many have to travel on older vehicles that emit higher levels of diesel exhaust fumes.

The study looked at school districts given lottery funding to retrofit old vehicles to make them less pollutant or to buy new clean-energy ones and found that over 350,000 additional days of attendance were recorded, possibly because of fewer days taken off with illness.

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