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NYS Budget: All state school buses must be zero emission by 2035

Schools will be required to purchase their first electric vehicle by 2027.
Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 14, 2022

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Inside the newly passed New York State budget, there is a new rule focused on school buses.

"All school buses in New York State will be zero emission by 2035," said Senator Tim Kennedy, the chair of the Transportation Committee in the New York State Senate.

The move has been enacted as part of New York State's move towards environmental protection.

"One of the largest polluters not just here in Western New York but across the state are these diesel engine school buses," said Kennedy.

Buses (transportation and school) can give off more than two million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in a single year, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"I understand the environmental issue, I get that. I really do, but there's more to this than that. It's not so cut and dry," said Mark Laurrie, the Superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District.

Laurrie tells 7 News his district has about 80 buses that transport about 5,000 Niagara Falls city school students every day.

Based on averages from popular electric bus manufacturers such as Blue Bird and Lion, buses typically can cost around $250,000 each - which is about double the cost of a regular school bus.

"That cost is one thing. But something we also have to think about here is the infrastructure involved. I mean, chargers, places for these vehicles, its a lot of money in a short amount of time," said Laurrie.

At this time, New York State has not produced any information regarding repercussions if this quota is not met. However, school districts can apply for a two year moratorium if the time frame is too short.