Senate infrastructure deal has $5 billion for low-emission, electric school buses

The bipartisan Senate agreement on federal infrastructure spending moves forward, including electric school buses and those powered by CNG, propane and biofuels.

The Senate approved the cloture to proceed by a vote of 67-32 on the evening of July 28, signaling a full debate.

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden called the deal “the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century.”

Though there remains no legislative text at this report, the $1 trillion framework includes a $5 billion U.S. Environmental Protection Agency clean school bus program, down from $7.5 billion. In addition to electric school buses, those powered by biofuels, CNG, LNG, and propane would also compete for 50% of the funds.

‘Cautiously optimistic’

The agreement is the first mention of other fuels. The propane industry is “cautiously optimistic,” Stephen Kaminsky, president and CEO of the National Propane Gas Association, told School Transportation News.

The funds would cover up to 100% of the cost of a new EV or alternative fuel bus. Priority would be given to rural and low-income communities as well as agencies that can contribute matching funds.

A source familiar with the negotiations said a larger $3.5 trillion Democrat budget reconciliation bill could include $20 billion to $25 billion for electric school buses. That would require all 50 Democrat senators to vote for it and Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tiebreaker, to overcome the 60 votes normally necessary to approve the legislation. But reportedly at least a couple of Democrats have voiced opposition to such a large spending bill.

Meanwhile, the bipartisan infrastructure framework also includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; $66 billion for passenger and freight rail; and $39 billion for public transit; $65 billion for broadband; $17 billion for ports and waterways; and $46 billion to help states and cities plan or droughts, wildfires and flooding that occur as a result of climate change.

Reprinted with permission from School Transportation NewsRead the original post.


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