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First Student, Buffalo Public Schools Win $8,625,000 from EPA for Electric School Buses
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First Student, Buffalo Public Schools Win $8,625,000 from EPA for Electric School Buses

New funding from the third round of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program means 25 electrified school buses for the Buffalo Public Schools

Wednesday, First Student, the leading school transportation provider in North America, and industry leader in electrification, and the Buffalo Public Schools were awarded $8,625,000 million in rebates from the third round of funding of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program. First Student has been the transportation provider for Buffalo schools for nearly 40 years and these rebates awarded is the result of a joint application to electrify the Buffalo bus fleet. The award was announced at an event in downtown Buffalo featuring representatives from the EPA, Buffalo and First Student. Among those in attendance were U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia, U.S. Rep. Tim Kennedy, David Hills, COO, Buffalo City School District, and Kevin Matthews, Head of Electrification for First Student. This round of EPA funding will enable First Student to deploy 25 electric school buses in Buffalo City School District, providing healthier and safer rides to students.  

“We are so proud to help secure this funding for the Buffalo Public Schools and deliver electric school buses to our partners of almost 40 years,” said First Student Head of Electrification Kevin Matthews. “These rebates from the Environmental Protection Agency are a game changer for Buffalo. It will ensure the students of Buffalo are transported to school in cleaner, quieter, safer vehicles, and arrive at school ready to learn while providing healthier air for this community. We are looking forward to continuing our close work with the school district to invest in an upgraded fleet that will benefit students and families well into the future.”

“Buffalo Public Schools has been committed to moving towards electrifying buses for the health and wellbeing of its students and the residents of the city of Buffalo,” Superintendent Dr. Tonja M. Williams said. “I applaud Frist Student for collaborating with our transportation team to provide expertise on how to implement low-emission electric school buses in order to better serve our students and the community. Given that diesel-fueled school buses have been linked to a number of respiratory illnesses and conditions, the Buffalo Board of Education approved a resolution in August 2023 supporting the district’s goal of having electric buses transport our students. This funding for 25 electric school buses will go a long way towards the Buffalo Public Schools’ goal of all of our transportation becoming electric.” 

“The benefits for our communities and students of providing daily transportation on a clean and quiet electric school bus are immense in the short and long term,” Buffalo Public Schools Chief Operating Officer David Hills said. “Our communities will reap a legacy of improved wellness as this initial investment begins the journey toward full electrification of our transportation fleet.”

The Clean School Bus Program allocates funds for school districts to help cover the cost of replacing fossil fuel school buses with zero-emission vehicles and associated charging infrastructure. Round two was competitively bid grant, while rounds one and three were lottery rebate awards. Today’s award is part of the third tranche of funding First Student has received through the program, and the first grant for Buffalo Public Schools. In awarding the rebates, the EPA recognized First Student’s ability to bring utilities and municipalities together with school districts, like Buffalo, to build the charging infrastructure and create a seamless experience for schools.

First Student has successfully deployed over 350 electric buses across North America and has logged over 3million miles of operation in pursuit of its commitment to transition 30,000 diesel vehicles to electric by 2035. Today’s EPA investment will accelerate that plan. Scaling the use of these zero-emission vehicles will provide significant and tangible improvements for the environment. Replacing just one diesel school bus with an electric school bus can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54,000 pounds each year.

In January 2024, the EPA awarded First Student more than $140 million – the largest amount awarded among all contractors – to enable First Student to deploy more than 370 new electric school buses in school districts across the United States. In November 2022, First Student worked with 11 districts to secure EPA grants under the first round of funding. This funding – approximately $60 million – is designed to provide 11 school districts with of a total of 160 electric school buses. In awarding the rebates and grants, the EPA recognized First Student’s ability to bring utilities and municipalities together with school districts in order to build the charging infrastructure and create a seamless experience for schools.

First Student works directly with school districts on their electrification goals, collaborating with them on the applications to the EPA and in deploying and maintaining the vehicles once they are in service. First Student operates a team of internal expert consultants called First Consulting that works closely to make sure grant applications reflect specific school district needs.

B-ROLL/RESOURCES: Watch a video that showcases First Student’s electric school bus fleet.

About First Student

As a leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. With a team of highly trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services, including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization, and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services with a fleet of about 45,000 buses. For more information, visit .