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Clean Transport

Colorado Grant Programs to Fund Electric School Buses, Low-Zero-Emission Fleets

First-ever round of funding for two clean vehicle grant programs will help protect air quality.

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Colorado state health department announces selected projects for grant programs to fund electric school buses, low- and zero-emission fleet vehicles

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is announcing selected projects for two new grant programs to fund clean vehicles. The Colorado Electric School Bus Grant Program is for schools and nonprofits to fund electric school buses or other zero-emission vehicles to transport kids. The Clean Fleet Vehicle and Technology Grant Program is for businesses, local governments, or other organizations to fund low-or zero-emission vehicles for use in fleet operations. This announcement comes after the department opened both grant programs for their first-ever round of applications in March 2023. The programs will reimburse tens of millions of dollars total in the coming years.

“These innovative grant programs will help Coloradans across the state breathe easier for years to come, including our youngest and most vulnerable,” said Michael Ogletree, director of the Air Pollution Control Division. “We’re investing in a cleaner, healthier future for all by supporting the transition to clean vehicles that provide cost-savings over the long-term, while reducing harmful air pollution.”

“Colorado continues leading the way with its bold vision for — and equitable transition to — clean transportation technology,” said Trisha Oeth, director of environmental health and protection at CDPHE. “These investments in Colorado’s future will help create cleaner air for all, including in communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.”

The department’s scoring criteria for applicants considered numerous factors, including expected benefits to the community and applicants’ plans to transition to low- or zero- emission vehicles. For transition plans, the department examined if the applicant considered infrastructure needs, permitting, and other support for the project.

Colorado Electric School Bus Grant Program

The department’s Air Pollution Control Division made selections for the Colorado Electric School Bus Grant Program. State funding can be combined with federal funding for electric school buses. Some state project selections also applied for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s grant program. The state’s grant program is reimbursement-based, so specific funding amounts will depend on the vehicles and technologies that recipients procure, in addition to any federal funding received. The division is committed to supporting these school districts by securing more than $24 million in combined state and federal funding to support electric school buses and infrastructure.

The division selected 13 projects for this first round of the program:

  • Boulder Preparatory Charter High School.
  • Boulder Valley School District.
  • Community Leadership Academy Inc.
  • Denver Public Schools.
  • Fountain Fort Carson School District #8.
  • Monte Vista School District.
  • Poudre School District.
  • Sheridan School District #2.
  • Steamboat Springs School District.
  • Summit School District RE-1.
  • Thompson School District 1-JT.
  • Weld County School District #6.
  • West Grand School District 1-JT.

Clean Fleet Vehicle and Technology Grant Program

On August 24, 2023, the department’s Clean Fleet Enterprise Board selected projects for the Clean Fleet Vehicle and Technology Grant Program. This grant program is also reimbursement-based, so specific funding amounts will depend on the vehicles and technologies that recipients procure. Selections could receive a total of up to $14 million combined once state contracts are finalized.

The board selected 17 projects for grant funding, which include diverse public and private organizations across Colorado:

  • New Bern Transportation Corporation.
  • Allied Waste Transportation.
  • City of Pueblo, Parks & Recreation Department.
  • Western Disposal Inc.
  • University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • Sysco Corporation.
  • Denver International Airport.
  • Clean Valley Recycling.
  • Energy Institute Colorado State University.
  • Xcel Energy Services Inc.
  • City of Golden.
  • Iron Mountain Information Management Services, Inc.
  • City of Fort Collins.
  • City of Boulder, Fire Department.
  • University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
  • City of Boulder.
  • Larimer County.
  • Benefits and future funding opportunities

The department established these two grant programs to promote access to clean vehicles that generate less air pollution. Traditional vehicles that run on gas release emissions that can form harmful ground-level ozone pollution. Traditional vehicles also produce significant greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. These grant programs will help Colorado reach its goals in the 2021 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap. The state continues working on an updated roadmap with leadership from the Colorado Energy Office.

The department intends to continually reopen both vehicle grant programs over the next decade as funding allows. Interested parties can subscribe for Colorado Electric School Bus Grant Program email updates and Clean Fleet Vehicle and Technology Grant Program email updates.

The department will initiate the formal grant award process after selected projects have met all legal and administrative requirements.

Courtesy of The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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