Electric school buses

We are working with school districts, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and other groups to transition school buses to electric. We give grant money to school districts to help fund electric school buses and related charging infrastructure. For these grants, we prioritize projects impacting overburdened communities, rural and low income school districts, school districts with older buses, and Tribal lands. These funds also help replace other vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

Most school buses run on diesel. Diesel exhaust is the most harmful air pollutant in Washington. It causes or contributes to asthma, heath and lung diseases, and cancer. Diesel exhaust is responsible for 70% of Washington’s airborne cancer risk. It also contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions that are creating the global climate crisis.

Transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in Washington. Transportation contributes about 22% of total air pollution and 39% of greenhouse gas emissions throughout Washington.

About our electric bus grant program

We give grant money to school districts to help fund electric school bus projects, focusing on areas where the environment is most affected. We prioritize projects in school districts that suffer the most from air pollution. This way, electric buses go to communities that are historically overburdened with health, social, and environmental problems and are highly impacted by criteria air pollution, such as ozone and fine particles.

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Learn more about climate action in Washington.

These grants are paid for by funds from the capital budget, Volkswagen settlement funds, and the Climate Commitment Act. The Climate Commitment Act supports Washington's climate action efforts by putting revenue from the Cap-and-Invest Program to work to reduce climate pollution, create jobs, and improve public health.

In the current funding cycle (2023-2025), we have about $49 million — with $20 million from the Climate Commitment Act — to help school districts transition diesel school buses to electric.

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Technical support and other funding

Transitioning from diesel to electric school buses requires a lot of planning for school districts. Because of that, we’ve developed a network of partners.