Mukherji bill to establish loan program for school districts to acquire electric school buses advances

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A bill sponsored by Assembly members Pamela Lampitt (D-6), John McKeon (D-27), and Raj Mukherji (D-33) to establish a loan program for local school districts to acquire electric school buses cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee yesterday.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The bill (S-228/A-1626) would require the New Jersey Economic Development Association, in consultation with the state Department of Education and the state Motor Vehicle Commission, to develop and administer a loan program for school districts to obtain electric school buses.

Specifically, the goal is to provide a loan for the cost differential of purchasing an electric-powered school bus instead of a diesel or gasoline-powered school bus.

The bill does not estimate how much the electric school buses and their charging stations/service equipment would cost.

“Diesel and gas-powered school buses emit pollution and greatly deteriorate air quality in our State. We want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our communities and ensure that our residents and children are breathing cleaner air. Changing to electric-powered school buses will allow us to transition to a more environmentally friendly means of transportation,” the three primary sponsors said in a statement.

“Electric school buses can substantially reduce future costs that will allow school districts to ultimately allocate money toward other areas of need. With reduced maintenance and fuel costs, our districts will be able to safely get our children to school, reduce greenhouse emissions, and create a new, cost-effective approach toward purchasing school buses.”

Like many other districts across the country, the Jersey City Public Schools said in September that they were feeling the impact of a school bus driver shortage for vendors.

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