SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Yesterday, the Minnesota House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee discussed House File 2502, authored by Rep. Jess Hanson (DFL - Burnsville). The bill would provide school districts with 75%-95% of the costs of replacing or repowering their existing fossil fuel-powered buses. It would prioritize deployment to the school districts and areas that need it most.
“Minnesotans want what’s best for our children’s health and their future,” said Rep. Hanson. “Diesel buses expose children to dangerous diesel fumes. Studies have shown that students who were exposed to lower diesel bus emissions had fewer absent school days, better lung function testing, and improved academic test scores. We hear every single day about the barriers to health and wellness that Minnesota kids face. We must do more, and that means we need to take action on initiatives like investing in electric school buses.”
This bill has five components: First, it creates a grant program at the Department of Commerce. Second, it allows the Department of Commerce to award grants to school districts, student transportation service providers, electric vehicle service providers, or utilities that want to install or operate electric buses and electric vehicle infrastructure to serve a school district. Third, the awards are prioritized for districts with higher rates of student poverty, rural districts, and districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Fourth, it supports districts that are eligible to receive grants to cover 75%-95% of the cost of replacing or repowering buses that use fossil fuels. Lastly, districts can apply to participate in two grant cycles per year; the Department of Commerce would administer this process and provide technical assistance throughout.
The bill was laid over by the committee for further discussion. The Senate’s companion bill is moving through the Senate committee processes. Video of the bill presentation can be viewed here.