Sen. Patrick Diegnan Jr., D-18th District, and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-6th District, introduced legislation Monday to incentivize the purchase of electric school buses.
Under the bill, Senate Bill 3747/Assembly Bill 5334, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority would establish a loan program to cover the difference between the cost of a conventional school bus and an electric school bus. Loans would also be available for expenses related to charging infrastructure. Both school districts and private bus contractors would be eligible to apply.
While an electric school bus costs around $120,000 more than a diesel version, fuel and maintenance savings over the lifespan of the bus are around $170,000, according to a 2018 study by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.
“Conventional school buses produce toxic diesel fumes which harm the students who are forced to breathe them in,” Diegnan said in a statement. “However, cleaner electric buses are more expensive to purchase. This bill gives financial aid to schools and contractors who want to switch to a healthier, electric fleet and achieve long-term cost savings.”
“New Jersey is known for being on the cutting edge when it comes to environmental policy that reduces our global carbon footprint,” Lampitt said in a statement. “By incentivizing school districts to transition to electric buses to fulfill their transportation needs, we demonstrate our state’s commitment to clean energy while improving our children’s health.”
The bill now awaits committee consideration.