Little Rock School District receives $9.8 million for clean bus initiative


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Little Rock, Arkansas – The Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to environmental sustainability has taken a significant leap forward with the announcement of nearly $1 billion being allocated to schools nationwide. This funding, a part of the Investing in America Agenda, is earmarked for the clean bus initiative. In Arkansas, the Little Rock School District (LRSD) stands as a notable beneficiary, having been selected to receive a substantial grant of $9.8 million.

The EPA’s inaugural Clean Bus Program Competition, which chose 67 applicants, will enable the distribution of electric buses across 37 states, impacting over 7 million students. Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council of Environmental Quality, expressed the initiative’s dual benefit: not only does it align with climate change goals and emission reduction, but it also protects children and communities from pollution. Additionally, Mallory highlighted the economic growth potential, stating, “These programs are allowing the creation of jobs in the community so we’re also being able to grow the economy around these technologies.”

LRSD’s grant will be utilized to purchase 25 clean buses. Linda Young, LRSD Director of Grants, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership’s benefits to the community and students. These buses are not just a step towards sustainability but also cater to the district’s inclusivity goals. They are specifically designed to be handicap accessible, primarily serving students with physical, intellectual, and/or behavioral disabilities. “So, each bus will be equipped and handicap accessible, and will be used to transport our students with special needs. So we need 25 buses to do that, to accomplish that every morning and then every afternoon and so these buses are specially built for that purpose,” Young explained.

The legislation accompanying this initiative ensures that additional costs, such as those for charging stations, will be covered by further government funding. However, the transition to these clean buses will not be immediate. The district anticipates it could take 10 or more months before the buses are operational, but the expectation is to see them on the roads by 2025.

For other districts and entities interested in participating in the Clean Bus funding program, the EPA’s application window remains open until January 31st. This initiative represents a significant step in integrating environmentally friendly practices in school transportation, setting a precedent for future sustainable projects.


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