The adoption of propane-powered school buses continues to accelerate across North America. There’s been a 960% growth in the number of propane school buses on U.S. roads in the last decade alone. This should only continue to increase with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the new $1.2 trillion law to improve America’s infrastructure.
This new legislation includes over $9 billion in funding for fueling infrastructure and clean vehicles including electric and propane, which is identified in the legislation as an emerging alternative fuel.
Funding opportunities under the new law include:
Section 71101: This provision is called the Clean School Bus Program, providing $2.5 billion for the purchase of low- and zero-emission school buses, including propane and electric.
Section 11401: This provision instructs the Secretary of Transportation to create a grant program for the installation of fueling and charging infrastructure for alternatively fueled vehicles along the nation’s highway system.
It also includes $1.6 billion in grants for buses and bus facilities, and $2.5 billion in grants for emissions reductions at port facilities. At this time, funding is slated to be released beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2026, with project implementation as soon as next year.
The infrastructure bill does not include an update on the alternative fuel excise tax credit. But complementary legislation (the Build Back Better plan likely to pass in early 2022) includes a five-year extension.
The common goal of school districts and school bus contractors is to replace dirty diesel buses as quickly as possible with clean, alternative energy sources. While electric is continuing to mature in the medium-duty market, propane is an emissions-reducing, cost-effective solution that is available right now, making it an integral part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
To learn more about ROUSH CleanTech’s advanced clean transportation fleet solutions, visit ROUSHcleantech.com.
Todd Mouw is president of ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of advanced clean vehicle technology. Mouw has more than two decades of experience in the automotive and high-tech industries. As former president of the NTEA Green Truck Association, Mouw helped set standards in the green trucking industry. To learn more, visit ROUSHcleantech.com.