Clean School Buses Get a Big Boost
June 29 was a good day for Michigan’s clean transportation. That’s when the legislature finalized the state’s 2024 budget, which included historic new funding programs for clean and electric vehicles and support for charging infrastructure.
- $125 million for clean school buses;
- $110 million for expanding public transit and innovative new mobility projects;
- $21 million for clean energy and electric vehicle infrastructure projects;
- $5 million for Lake Michigan EV charging circuit; and
- $1 million for transitioning the state’s fleet to EVs.
We are especially excited about the funding for electric school buses. Most of Michigan’s 17,000 school buses run on diesel fuel, the exhaust from which has been linked to children’s health issues, including asthma and cognitive development. Electric school buses have zero tailpipe emissions. They can also save school districts thousands of dollars per year on fuel and maintenance. This new funding thus makes our communities safer for children while saving taxpayer money in the long term. Definitely a reason to celebrate!
The budget also included important new funding to expand public transit and mobility projects, as well as new funds to support EV charging infrastructure, especially along Lake Michigan. These funds will complement new federal funding for EV charging stations along major highway corridors.
Despite these budget wins, however, we still have miles to go. The Governor had included several other clean transportation programs in her Executive budget proposal that the legislature declined to fund. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s recent State Transportation Electrification Scorecard, Michigan still ranks 26th among states for policies that support electric vehicle adoption. That is an improvement from 2021 when we were in 29th place. However, Michigan needs to be leading the country on these policies if it wants to maintain its standing as the leading auto state. We clearly have more work to do.
Specifically, we need to pick up the items from the Governor’s budget that got left behind and, at the same time, work to adopt other proactive state policies that spur EV adoption, like clean vehicle and fuel standards. Budget-related items that still need funding include:
- Purchase incentives on new and used vehicles to make electric cars more affordable;
- Incentives for additional charging infrastructure, especially to support access for those that can’t charge at home; and
- Funding to help local government fleet vehicles transition to electric.
We know that your support is why we have made it this far. Thank you so much for staying engaged, responding to our action alerts, and helping us move toward equitable clean energy. Together, we will continue shaping the future and creating a safer, cleaner, more sustainable world.