Grant project to encourage Minnesota bus owners to purchase electric buses

Wednesday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced it is launching a pilot grant project that will encourage school bus owners to purchase electric buses.

According to the MPCA, the program is a part of achieving the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

The MPCA plans to use up to $3 million from the state’s settlement with Volkswagen to encourage bus owners to replace diesel-powered buses to replace them with new electric models.

Minnesota slated to expand electric vehicle charging network

"The pilot is designed to provide a financial incentive for current diesel school buses, and the owners of those buses to take an older more polluting bus off the road and replace it with a new electric model… for successful applicants, MPCA will award up to $275,000 or 75% of the projected cost, whichever is less," said Laura Bishop, MPCA Commissioner.

Using an electric bus instead of a diesel bus can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29 tons, according to the MPCA.

The agency hopes to fund at least six new buses across the state.

"Our children deserve clean air and a better climate," Bishop said in a statement. "This innovative pilot will make cleaner bus technology more accessible for schools, and provide valuable information about how we can continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. If the pilot is successful, our goal is to make more of these smart investments in the future."

The MPCA will grant applicants up to $275,000 or 75% of the project cost.

"Children’s sensitivity to air pollution and vulnerable populations with asthma and other types of issues like heart disease, it is important that we are making progress, and this pilot program to electrify the school bus fleet and to begin collecting data on how this can work across the entire state is an important step forward," said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner.

Applications are due by Oct. 13. The hope is that the buses purchased through the project will transport students in the fall of 2022.