San Antonio ISD gets new funding for low-pollution school buses

Funds will be used to purchase 15 buses

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Independent School District will soon implement 15 low-pollution school buses in its fleet, thanks to funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro’s office announced Wednesday that the congressman secured $5,925,000 for SAISD to purchase the low- and zero-emission buses. The funding was provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan law Castro helped to pass in 2021.

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SAISD is among 67 other funding recipients under the Clean School Bus program.

“Today’s announcement is a major step forward in San Antonio ISD’s work to reduce emissions and build healthier futures for San Antonio kids and families,” a news release from Castro’s office said. “I’m excited to see how these new buses will contribute to better air quality in San Antonio.”

The Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over five years to phase out gas-reliant school buses in favor of low- and zero-emission buses, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The program is part of a total of $18 million in funding geared toward investment in lowering emissions through electric vehicles.

Funds from the program support introducing clean school buses, including electric buses, compressed natural gas and propane buses to replace existing diesel buses.

With the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from school bus replacements, a significant driver of the climate crisis is being addressed — the transportation sector.

“Today we’re once again accelerating the transition to electric and low-emission school buses in America, helping to secure a healthier future where all our children can breathe cleaner air,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan stated.

Under the bipartisan infrastructure law — and the program — funds will be split two ways, with half supporting zero-emission school buses and the other half supporting alternative fuels and zero-emission buses.

Along with the bipartisan infrastructure law is the creation of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. The entity will “provide technical assistance to support the efficient and equitable deployment of electric vehicle charging and other related programs,” a White House document said.

School districts in low-income, rural or tribal communities made up 86% of those selected for funding, the news release said.

This answers part of President Joe Biden’s call under the Justice40 Initiative, which strives to ensure delivery of “40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.”

About the Author:

Mason Hickok is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, walking his dogs and listening to podcasts.