Georgia school systems will receive $51.1 million in federal grants for the purchase of electric school buses, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in October.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

The Clean School Bus Program, announced last May, is aimed at accelerating the nation’s transition to zero-emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and their communities.

Altogether, nearly $1 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure spending bill Congress passed last fall will go to 389 school districts spanning all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and several tribes and U.S. territories.

“As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution.

“This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

In Georgia, school bus grants are going to 15 school districts. The largest grants of $9.9 million each are headed for school systems in Atlanta, Clayton County and Savannah-Chatham County.

The awards announced Wednesday represent the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created under the infrastructure law.

EPA is designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses during the next fiscal year.

The agency encourages school districts not selected in the first round of grants – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.