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Final Legislative Approval for $15 Million to Support the Electric School Bus Program


TRENTON – The New Jersey legislature has granted final approval to the Governor’s recommendations on S-3044, sponsored by Senators Patrick Diegnan and Linda Greenstein, which would appropriate $15 million to support the implementation of the Electric School Bus Program.


The Program would be implemented by the Department of Environmental Protection for three years to determine the operational reliability and cost effectiveness of replacing diesel-powered school buses for the transportation of students. Each year, six school districts amongst the northern, central, and southern regions of the state would be selected for participation, such that by the third year a total of 18 school districts will have been selected. The implementation of the program will assist in determining how best to approach school transportation over the coming years.


“School buses are a safer and more environmentally friendly way to get kids to school than driving them in a personal vehicle, reducing traffic, total vehicle emissions, and providing more safety in the event of an accident,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Although they are less harmful than the use of many personal vehicles, the currently used diesel buses do still create harmful emissions. Switching to electric school buses can completely eliminate that toxic exhaust, protecting the health of children and assisting in accomplishing our state’s climate goals.”


Electric school buses represent a particularly promising way to reduce the carbon emissions that come from transportation and reduce children’s exposure to harmful fumes. Although electric buses cannot travel as far on a single charge as a diesel bus can from a full tank of fuel, school buses tend to travel less distance in a single day than buses used by transit agencies. Thus, using electric buses for school-related transport avoids the potential pitfalls associated with less range that more acutely impact transit agencies.


“Children need transportation, and we owe it to them to ensure that that transportation is as safe and reliable as possible,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “For a long time, using diesel-powered school buses was the best transport option available. Now, though, with the development of improved electric bus technology that would eliminate toxic emissions, we have a safer alternative. This program will help explore that alternative, to determine how feasible a full transition would be.”