Rural School Bus Pilot Project

The application period is now closed.

Through a partnership with Senator Mike McGuire and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the District has been asked to administer the Rural School Bus Pilot Project for the State of California. The main goal of this grant program is accelerating the turnover of California school bus fleets to lower carbon transportation choices, especially in rural school districts who have less access to other funding sources.
Traditionally, small and rural school districts have the oldest and dirtiest burning fleets, and historically have not had the opportunity or ability to receive funds for replacement or upgrade projects. According the US EPA, more than half of today’s school buses have been in service for over a decade. These older buses emit twice as much pollution per mile as a semi-truck. Consequently, health risks for students, especially younger children, increase significantly because their respiratory systems are still developing.
Eligible Participants
All California schools, meeting one of the following Eligible Applicant types will be invited to apply:
  • Public School District
  • Public Charter School
  • County Office of Education
  • Joint Power Authorities (JPA)
  • Division of State Special Schools of the State Department of Education
Private schools, private transportation companies and non-profit agencies will not be eligible to apply.
Project Types
Applicants will select from one of the following project types:
  • Fleet expansion for zero-emission school buses
  • Bus replacement for conventional fuel buses with a hybrid or internal combustion engine. The projects will require the use of renewable fuel types
Applications for zero-emission projects will be allowed to apply for up to three buses, while projects using renewable fuel will be allowed one bus per School District.
Applicants will need to identify and provide information about their replacement or "old bus" as part of the initial application. Even though zero-emission projects allow for fleet expansion and do not require a bus to be replaced, applicants must select a bus currently in their fleet to be used for ranking purposes. Zero-emission projects will be required to designate the "old bus" as a back-up bus for their fleet, and limit its usage.
Old Bus Requirements:
  • Chassis must be 20 years old or older
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) must be 14,000 pounds or greater
  • Bus must have current CHP Certification
The new school bus will need to be the current model year available and meet one of the following conditions:
  • Zero-emission (battery electric or fuel cell)
  • Hybrid or internal combustion engine (diesel, compressed natural gas, propane) using renewable fuel and meeting 0.20 grams per brake horse power-hour (g/bhp-hr) oxides of nitrogen emission standard and 0.01 g/bhp-hr particulate matter standard. It will be the applicants responsibility to determine if renewable fuel is available in their area.

Project Selection
Applications will be ranked first by the size of the air district they are in, then by age, and finally by mileage. Funding priority will be given to applicants that are located in a Small Air District, as defined by CAPCOA. Applications for more than one bus will have each bus evaluated separately.
The application process will be broken into two parts, A and B. Part A of the application will collect information about school district, the old bus, and desired new bus technology type. Part B of the application will be sent only to applicants selected for funding after the initial ranking, based on the information provided in Part A. The applicants will then be required to submit more detailed information about the new bus, provide an estimate for the new bus, and demonstrate renewable fuel availablity, if applicable. Should Part B demonstrate a project is ineligible, another project will be selected from the waitlist.
Selected Projects
Funding Levels
  • Zero-emission school bus - $400,000
  • Electric school bus infrastructure - $5,000
  • Hybrid/Internal combustion engine school bus and incremental renewable fuel costs - $165,000
The grant award cannot exceed the purchase price of the new school bus, taxes, incremental renewable fuel costs and/or infrastructure costs (eligible projects costs). The funding levels above reflect the maximum funding levels allowed under this grant. Applicants are encouraged to check with their local Air District for potential co-funding opportunities. However, total grant funding cannot exceed eligible project costs.
Applications and Forms
Applicant Webinar - February 16, 2017
Additional Resources
For more information about this grant please contact us at (707) 443-3093 or by email.

This project was supported by the "California Climate Investments"(CCI) program.
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Wednesday January 17th
Did You Know?
Pre-1990 trucks can emit two and a half times as much NOx and five times as much particulates as trucks meeting the current on-road heavy-duty engine exhaust emission standards.
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