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EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Cesar Zapata joined White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez to announce Clean School Bus Grant to Charlotte-Mecklenburg County School District

CHARLOTTE, NC – Thursday, June 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Regional Administrator Cesar Zapata joined Senior Advisor to President Biden and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez and local officials for an event to celebrate the award of 2024 rebate funding to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County School District from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2023 Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, funded by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. 

In total, through 2023, Clean School Bus Program awards of $8.6 million in rebates to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District will replace 52 diesel-powered buses, which will result in reduced air emissions and fuel savings of over 70,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

“We thank the EPA for granting CMS funds for clean and quiet electric buses. This grant program is a demonstration of government partnerships at their best and allows CMS to do our part to preserve the environment for many generations,” states Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Vice Chair, Gregory “Dee” Rankin.

“The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The CSB program will save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets and freeing up needed resources for schools,” said Deputy Regional Administrator Cesar Zapata. “More importantly, phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day.”

“The Board of County Commissioners is steadfast in its commitment to environmental stewardship, which is why it continues to be one of the top five investment priorities. A major component of our commitment as outlined in our Environmental Justice Action framework is lowering our carbon footprint. For our fiscal year, Mecklenburg County committed 2.2 million for 90 additional electric vehicle charging stations and 2.9 million for 64 additional electric vehicles,” said Vice Chair of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners Mark Jerrell. “However, despite our efforts, there’s still much work to be done and today’s announcement is a step closer in the right direction.”

“We have the ability to change lives at this moment in time. We have the ability to have clean air at this moment in time. We have the ability to change the disparities that we have in our community into something that’s opportunity for every part of our community,” said Mayor Vi Lyles.

This year, EPA has selected approximately 530 school districts spanning nearly every state, Washington, D.C., and several Tribes and U.S. territories to receive nearly $900 million to replace older, diesel fueled school buses that have been linked to asthma and other conditions that harm the health of students and surrounding communities.   

“There has never been a wider scale and scope of opportunity to make a difference in so many ways in this community as a result of the President’s Invest in America agenda and the remarkable partnership with the President, Governor Cooper, Mayor Lyles, your school board, your private sector, all of the partners. As we invest in levels unprecedented in my lifetime, we want to make sure that every community benefits. We want to make sure that zip code never determines destiny,” said White House Senior Advisor Tom Perez. “Having electric school buses is part of the broader strategy to make sure that from the moment you leave home to the moment you come home, you are breathing clean air, you are in a safe place. That’s what the Investment America agenda is all about. And this will result in clean air, healthier air for many of the 25,000,000 children who rely on school buses every day.”

Attendees and reporters were invited to join a “ride along” in an electric school bus prior to the speaking program. 

For more information on the Clean School Bus Program:


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