Bay Shore School District and Suffolk Transportation Services Inc. have been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for electric buses to transport school children, district officials announced.
STS and Bay Shore schools secured the $1,152,687 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act National Grant this year, which will be used to purchase seven new model electric buses to be utilized in the Bay Shore, Brentwood and Central Islip school districts.
According to the EPA, the DERA program “funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines.”
Bay Shore superintendent Joseph Bond said that the duo had secured an EPA grant two years ago to roll out four electric school buses in the district. Since Brentwood, CI and Bay Shore are all part of Suffolk Transportation Services’ fleet, district representatives decided to piggyback on the effort again this year.
“It’s a win-win, and we’re all moving in the direction of making our town a cleaner and better place,” Bond said. “Our mantra in Bay Shore has always been to ‘dream, lead and achieve.’ With this accomplishment, we are one step closer to that mission.”
The new “green” fleet is free to taxpayers, Bond said, and will save at least 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel and well over 54 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
The EPA Region 2 office awarded the grant based on a “demonstrated ongoing commitment to achieving significant reductions in diesel emissions by employing cleaner, more efficient vehicles and equipment.”
But this is only the beginning, Bond said: “This is only going to grow. I know that’s [Suffolk [Transportation Services’] intention.” Once the vessels are mass-produced, he said, the electric buses will become more cost effective for districts across the area and will result in savings.
The EPA’s rebate program has funded vehicle replacements or retrofits for over 2,000 vehicles. Typically, the rebate application period opens in the fall and projects are completed in less than one year. In the 2020 fiscal year, approximately $10.5 million has been distributed thus far.