The White House announced major federal actions that look to expand clean public transit and school buses, reduce emissions from diesel trucks, and create good-paying jobs. Some of the pillars of the proposal include:
- Cleaner, More Convenient Public Transit: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law represents the single largest investment in public transit in history. As part of the historic $5.5 billion expansion of the Low- and No-Emission Transit Vehicle Program, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is announcing $1.1 billion in funding for 2022 and an additional $372 million under the Bus and Bus Facilities program. The Low-No Program helps state and local governments purchase U.S.-built electric transit buses and other cleaner models, to improve local air quality and expand affordable, accessible, transportation options in communities across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law increased Low-No program funding by ten times, compared to the prior five years. Also, because of changes enacted in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the grants will dedicate funding to workforce training that helps protect and upskill transit workers, ensuring that those who work on transit vehicles today are ready to do so in the future. To keep transit workers on the job and transit services running, DOT is also announcing $2.2 billion in funding to 35 transit agencies across 18 states through the American Rescue Plan.
- Electrifying School Buses: The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $17 million to fund electric zero-emission and low-emission school buses. Through the American Rescue Plan, $7 million is being awarded to replace old diesel school buses in underserved communities with new, zero-emission electric buses. In addition, $10 million is being awarded to replace old diesel school buses with new cleaner buses through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebate Program. This funding complements the $5 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for clean school buses, the first tranche of which will become available in the coming months.
- Lower Emissions from Ports: The Department of Transportation is using new project eligibilities in the Port Infrastructure Development Program – which is now funded at the highest levels ever through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – to advance clean port equipment like electric vehicle charging infrastructure for drayage trucks, cargo equipment, and harbor craft. Grant applicants are encouraged to submit projects that reduce emissions, strengthen resilience, improve air quality in fenceline communities, and plan for the zero-emission ports of the future.
- Innovation on Clean Trucks of the Future: The Department of Energy is partnering with industry to expand zero-emission truck technology through its SuperTruck 3 Program, with the latest round of $127 million in funding focused for the first time on reducing costs and improving durability in hydrogen and battery electric trucks.
To spur investment in zero emission trucks, the Federal Transit Administration, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, is helping states purchase medium and heavy-duty vehicles through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. DOE’s Loan Program Office has been given expanded authority for manufacturing of clean medium and heavy-duty on-road vehicles as well as vehicles and components in the aviation, maritime, and rail sectors, pending future appropriations.
To advance the build-out of the nation’s network of 500,000 EV chargers, DOT’s recent EV charging guidance to states includes eligibility to support charging infrastructure for trucks. Given the unique needs of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, DOE’s Sustainable Transportation offices are studying how to advance clean, affordable hydrogen and electrification corridor solutions to connect ports, highways, and end users, and provide clean freight solutions to move goods and materials from first mile to the last.
To read the EPA’s full rulemaking proposal, click here.