Amboy CUSD awarded federal rebate for electric buses

EPA Administrator Michael Regan speaks at an event with Vice President Kamala Harris highlighting the Biden-Harris Administration's investments in electric school buses at Lumen Field in Seattle on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

A federal program to offer rebates for school buses that run on clean energy was awarded to Amboy Community Unit School District on Thursday.

Amboy was one of 15 Illinois schools selected in an announcement made by Vice President Kamala Harris EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in Seattle.

Three other school districts in the Sauk Valley were not selected, but they were put on a waiting list. They were Rock Falls Elementary School Dsitrict 13, Bureau Valley CUSD and Steward ESD. Bureau Valley and Rock Falls D13 were each seeking 10 buses, Steward wanted one.

Amboy will be awarded $790,000 in rebates for the purchase of two electric buses through the Lion Electric Co. USA.

In all, Illinois was awarded $48.3 million in rebates that will go to purchase 123 buses. All of the Illinois requests were for electric buses. Some places made requests for those powered by propane or compressed natural gas.

“As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day,” Regan said. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.” 

“The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program shows just what’s possible when we invest in clean, climate-friendly technologies.  Illinoisans are hard at work building electric school buses, and this investment will help put those buses on the road in the school districts where it matters most,” said Sen. Dick Durbin. “This funding represents a crucial first step to giving every student a ride to school without breathing hazardous pollutants.” 

“Increasing the number of zero-emission and low-emission school busses strengthens Illinois–-and protects the health of our children—by helping ensure our air is safer to breathe,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth. “I’m proud that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping to create a healthier, more environmentally-friendly future for our families and communities.” 

Districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is working with U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with technical assistance.

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023.

EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds. 

Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for Saukvalley.com and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.