Lanett City Schools one out of seven to receive grant for EV school buses

Published 9:35 am Saturday, June 1, 2024

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Lanett City Schools is among seven school systems chosen for the Clean School Bus Program with LCS set to receive five buses at $1.745 million, according to a press release from the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition (ACFC). When Casey Foster joined the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition in 2023, he performed a detailed analysis of every bus route in every public school system in Alabama.

Foster’s analysis identified routes eligible for the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2023 Clean School Bus Program rebate competition and shared that information with local school systems. This week, seven Alabama school systems learned they are winners in the Clean Bus Program and will receive federal funds to buy new electric school buses, thanks in part to ACFC’s support and assistance.

“We are pleased that our analysis played a key role in school systems choosing to apply for and ultimately succeed in securing these federal funds for electric school buses,” said Foster, fleet manager for the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition.

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The seven Alabama school districts won a total of $7.865 million, which will purchase 24 electric school buses. The federal program pays for the complete cost of the buses, and it awarded nearly $900 million nationwide to 530 school districts.

In addition to Alabama’s seven winning school systems in the Clean School Bus Program, four others were waitlisted for electric or propane-fueled school buses. ACFC officials worked with seven of the 11 school systems that won awards or were waitlisted.

Here are the seven Alabama school systems selected in the 2023 Clean School Bus Program:

Clay County: 3 buses, $1.035 million

Fort Payne City: 4 buses, $1.38 million

Gulf Shores City: 3 buses, $600,000

Lanett City: 5 buses, $1.745 million

Jasper City: 2 buses, $690,000

Montgomery County: 2 buses, $690,000

Selma City: 5 buses, $1.725 million

Foster’s analysis identified 41 school systems with routes that were promising candidates for the Clean School Bus Program. He met with officials from nearly 20 school systems, and those meetings included representatives from Alabama Power and the Alabama Propane Gas Association.

“This is a great development for these school systems to better serve their communities with clean emission vehicles, while also updating their transportation fleet by leveraging federal dollars,” Foster said. “We look forward to continuing to work with school systems and help them find innovative ways to meet their transportation needs through the use of alternative fuel vehicles. We thank Alabama Power and the APGA for supporting this targeted and strategic approach to educating school systems about the benefits of alternative fuel buses.”

In addition, Albertville City (9 buses, $3.145 million), Boaz City (2 buses, $690,000) and Conecuh County (6 buses, $2.070 million) were waitlisted for electric school buses. If a winner does not complete the remaining required steps, drops out or is otherwise deemed ineligible, those funds will then be offered to a 2023 waitlisted candidate.

Mobile County was also waitlisted for 25 propane-fueled school buses at a cost of $875,000. Mobile County, the state’s largest school system, pioneered propane buses in Alabama when it added them to its fleet in 2014.

“Taking steps to provide cleaner transportation options for children is an invaluable investment,” said Hasin Gandhakwala, Electric Transportation Manager at Alabama Power.