$326K advances municipal fleet goal of net-zero plan
The town will receive $326,579 to replace two older diesel school buses with new model year 2022 battery electric school buses as part of a competitive grant program award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA).
Town planning and and Arlington Public Schools announced in a Dec. 1 town news release that, in addition to funding the two new school buses, the grant will finance the purchase and installation of two direct current charging stations for the buses.
The release calls the town a leader in the adoption and promotion of electric vehicles, both for its municipal fleet and provision of public charging stations. In 2020, the town received a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Accelerating Clean Transportation Now program to replace an existing diesel school bus owned by the town with an all-electric drive train.
Aim to cut pollution
These actions advance the town's plan to adopt a zero-emission municipal fleet and charging infrastructure plan, with a goal of a complete transition to zero-emission vehicle purchases by no later than 2030. Electrification of the municipal fleet will help reduce greenhouse-gas pollution from on-road transportation, which represents nearly 36 percent of overall greenhouse-gas pollution, according to an inventory conducted for the net-zero plan.
“The district is thrilled to be able to improve the air quality and climate impact of our public-school buses by replacing two of them with new electric buses. We are looking forward to beginning our transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future with the support of the EPA,” said Dr. Elizabeth C. Homan, superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, in the release.
Jennifer Raitt, director of the Department of Planning and Community Development, said: “The town is committed to electrifying our transportation options, and this funding from the EPA will bring our community closer to that goal. Gas- and diesel-powered cars, trucks and buses account for more than a third of our community’s greenhouse-gas pollution, while electric buses are cleaner, cheaper to run over time, and require less maintenance.”
Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said: “Replacing old diesel vehicles with new electric ones delivers valuable health benefits to Massachusetts communities, by reducing exposure to ambient air pollution, and supports the Commonwealth's greenhouse-gas emissions reduction efforts, since the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth is excited to see Arlington take this step to begin the transition to an electric school bus fleet.”
The School Department and planning collaborated on the competitive grant submission. The town’s former Energy Manager Ken Pruitt led the effort with the strong support of the school’s Transportation Director Steve Angelo.
The award is part of more than $77 Million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Projects (DERA) that the EPA awarded nationally. The funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines.
Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded over $1 billion in grants and rebates to modernize the nation's diesel fleet and speed the turnover to cleaner on- and off-road heavy-duty trucks and equipment.
This news announcement was published Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.