Trenton – Today the Senate Environment and Energy Committee approved legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan which would require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to develop and implement a three-year electric school bus pilot program.
“On a typical school day in New Jersey, more than 800,000 students ride to school on one of the state’s 15,000 diesel school buses,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “School buses are known to emit greenhouse gases and carcinogens, both of which contribute to climate change and threaten exposed individuals with elevated lifetime risks of developing cancer, asthma, and heart disease. As a state, we have goals to significantly lower our carbon emissions and become a greener place to live. Transitioning from the conventional diesel-fueled buses to those with zero-emissions will significantly decrease our state’s pollution levels.”
Under the bill, S-4077, the EDA, in consultation with various government agencies, would select at least six school districts or bus contractors each year to participate in the program. At least one school district or school bus contractor would be located in a low-income, urban, or environmental justice community.
Additionally, $15 million would be available to the EDA each year for three years to provide grants to the participating school districts to go towards the purchase or lease of electric school buses, the acquisition and installation of charging infrastructure, and training for bus maintenance personnel, bus drivers, and inspectors.
The bill was released from the committee by a vote of 5-0.