A Fleet Of Electric-Powered School Buses Is Coming To Southern California

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A fleet of LAUSD's current buses. (Photo via LAUSD/Facebook)

As we patiently await the complete automation of driving, a few other vehicle-related technological advances are making progress. On Friday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District approved over $8.8 million to purchase 33 electric school buses for school districts throughout the Los Angeles region.

Friday's unanimous decision allocates funds in accordance with the 2001 Low-Emission School Bus program which "has provided over $280 million in state and local funds to replace over 1,600 highly polluting school buses with alternative fuel buses and to retrofit over 3,300 school buses with particulate traps," notes the management district. In December, the SCAQMD Board began focusing some of the funds on battery-powered electric school buses.

Now, 18 school districts throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties have been awarded funds for the buses. The majority of the school districts were awarded funds for two buses, while some only received money for one. Each bus costs $248,000, while the charging station infrastructure is $20,000 per bus. The Los Angeles Unified School District was awarded funding for two electric school buses.

"One of the criteria was that these school districts be in areas that were disproportionately impacted by air pollution," Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the SCAQMD, told KPCC. "So some of these are in environmental justice areas. Others are in areas that just have some of the worst air pollution in our four-county region."

LAist reached out to both LAUSD and SCAQMD, but neither were available for immediate comment.