The Bulletin Board

Electric school bus pilot program passes Senate

By: - March 24, 2022 10:23 am

The state Senate approved an electric school bus pilot program Thursday, March 24, 2022. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A bill to create an electric school bus pilot program passed the Senate in an unanimous vote on Thursday.

The version of Senate Bill 417 now headed to the Senate Finance Committee directs the Department of Environmental Services to launch an electric school bus pilot program by the end of 2023. The program would be funded through the state’s Volkswagen settlement funds and federal money from the infrastructure bill, which set aside $5 billion for electric buses across the country.

The bill has bipartisan support, with one Republican senator and the deputy speaker of the House signing on as co-sponsors, along with a handful of Democrats from both chambers. Sen. David Watters, a Dover Democrat, said the pilot project is expected to start with five buses. An electric school bus costs around $400,000, according to testimony from the Department of Environmental Services.

Proponents of the bill have pointed to the public health benefits of electric buses, by reducing diesel fumes that can be harmful to human health. Clean energy advocates are pushing for the switch to electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the single greatest contributor to emissions in the state.

The bill will head to the Senate Finance Committee next.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.