Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced the state has rolled out a roadmap for public schools to transition bus fleets to zero-emission vehicles, as required by the state's 2019 Climate Act.
The law bars school districts from purchasing additional buses that burn diesel starting in 2027 in preparation for a 2035 deadline.
The roadmap outlines costs, challenges and proposed recommendations that the state can implement. It also covers vehicle choice, procurement and fleet planning options that will accelerate zero-emission school bus adoption. Highlights of the roadmap include tips for districts to utilize state and federal programs to make buying buses cheaper, and recommendations on charging options.
“As New York State continues to lead the way in the fight against climate change, we must address the ways that fossil-fuel powered transportation directly affects our families and communities with emissions from school buses at the top of that list,” Hochul said in a statement. “Providing the tools for school districts to swap out diesel and gas school buses with zero-emission bus fleets will help students and their communities across the state breathe cleaner air and enjoy a healthier way of life.”
Hochul's office said the roadmap will be updated every three years to reflect changing zero-emission school bus market conditions.
“Zero-emission school buses not only improve the environment for our students by reducing air pollution, an issue that disproportionately effects our underserved communities, they also promote the importance of sustainability and clean energy, contributing to a healthier and more equitable future for the next generation," state Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said in a statement.
About 50 electric school buses operate in New York out of the state's total fleet of 45,000 buses. A new diesel school bus costs around $130,000, the executive director of the state Association for Pupil Transportation recently told Spectrum News 1, while each electric school bus costs more than $400,000.