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School districts that own their buses, and school bus contractors that provide busing services to schools, face a May 17 deadline to apply for state grants to replace their diesel school buses with battery electric-powered ones and purchase charging stations. 

Of the 21,700 school buses registered in New Jersey, over 99% run on fossil fuels, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The Electric School Bus Grant program authorized by a 2022 law, provides up to $15 million per year for three years to replace diesel school buses with battery-electric school buses. 

The program provides up to $320,000 per school bus and associated charging infrastructure for buses serving school districts in overburdened communities and up to $290,000 per bus and charging infrastructure for buses serving other school districts.  

The grant amounts are designed to reflect the approximate incremental cost difference between a new electric bus and a new diesel bus, plus the cost of charging infrastructure. 

Applications must be submitted through the DEP’s online portal by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17.  For more information, including the fact sheets, archived webinar recordings about the program, and links to the online application portal, go the DEP’s website here. 

Questions can be directed to DEP at stopthesoot@dep.nj.gov. Please write “Electric School Bus Grant Program” in the email subject line.