School Buses

Air District funding is available to help upgrade or replace older, high-emitting, heavy-duty school buses with newer zero-emission school buses and to install supporting infrastructure.

How to Apply

Visit our Apply for Funding web page to apply. There are multiple funding sources available for heavy-duty school buses. After you apply, Air District staff will work with you to match your project with an appropriate funding source.

Eligible Project Types

  • Vehicle Replacement Only: Replace heavy-duty diesel or alternative fuel-powered school buses with electric school buses.
  • Vehicle Replacement with Supporting Infrastructure: In conjunction with a vehicle replacement project, applicants may apply for funding to install new or convert or expand existing battery-charging infrastructure to charge school buses. 

Key Eligibility Criteria

  • Public school districts, Joint Powers Authorities, public charter schools, county offices of education, and private fleets contracted to provide public school transportation may apply.
  • Applications are accepted for school bus projects within the Air District’s boundaries. School buses must operate or be domiciled in a Disadvantaged (SB 535), Low-Income (AB 1550), or AB 617 Community to be considered eligible for funding. Contact Air District staff if you have questions as to whether your fleet operates within these priority areas.  
    • AB617 communities are: 
      • West Oakland
      • East Oakland
      • Richmond-San Pablo
      • Bayview-Hunters Point/Southeast San Francisco
  • Eligible baseline buses should have a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 14,001 pounds and should be powered by diesel, natural gas, or liquid propane gas. Replacement buses need to be zero-emission and should also have a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 14,001 pounds. Although school buses lighter than 14,001 pounds are not typically eligible, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • School buses must transport public school students (grades K-12) to and from school, or for school-sponsored activities within the Air District’s boundaries.
  • Applicants must submit an application, be awarded, and enter into a funding agreement with the Air District prior to starting their projects. Projects that have started (e.g., placing an order or deposit for a vehicle) prior to the funding agreement being signed by all parties will be disqualified.

Complete information about project requirements and eligibility criteria are available in the documents located in the Resources section.

Battery Charging and Fueling Infrastructure

Eligible applicants funded for new electric school bus(es) may also apply for grants to install, convert, or expand battery charging stations. Funding for other types of alternative fueling stations, such as natural gas or petroleum, are not eligible for funding.

Eligible projects must comply with all applicable laws, be located within Air District jurisdictional boundaries for use by buses operating in the Bay Area, and meet site ownership, equipment specification, and other Program and Air District requirements. For additional information on infrastructure, please visit the Infrastructure page.

For additional details about project options and funding amounts see Resources section.

Funding Sources

The following are funding sources that could be used to fund school bus projects.

Unless otherwise noted, applicants do not need to apply for a particular funding source. After submission of an application, staff will review and match your project with an appropriate funding source.

The following are other funding opportunities outside of the Air District that are available for heavy-duty school bus projects. If you are applying for Air District funding and pursuing one of these other funding opportunities, please note so in your application.


Workshops/Events and Application Support

School Bus Grant Program Webinar (December 7, 2023): The webinar includes an overview of the eligibility criteria for school bus projects and outlines what interested parties should anticipate during the application and project process.

View the Calendar for upcoming workshops, events, and deadlines.

If you are interested in a thirty-minute consultation with the Air District prior to submitting your application, please complete the School Bus Consultation Form linked below and email to Consultation time can be used to go over program eligibility and requirements, or review required documents (e.g., usage documentation, vehicle title, registration, etc.) prior to submittal.

Glossary of Terms

School Bus
Vehicles used for the express purpose of transporting students, kindergarten through grade 12, from home to school, school to home, and to any school sponsored activity.

Heavy-Duty Vehicle
Vehicle of a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)  of above 14,001 pounds in California. Diesel engines used in heavy-duty vehicles are further divided into service classes by GVWR, as follows: Light heavy-duty diesel engine (14,001 – 19,500 pounds), Medium Heavy-Duty (19,501 – 33,000 pounds), and Heavy Heavy-Duty (> 33,000 pounds).

Zero-Emission Vehicle
A zero-emission vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that does not emit exhaust gas or other pollutants from the onboard source of power under any and all operational modes and conditions.

Disadvantaged Communities
Areas throughout California which most suffer from a combination of economic, health, and environmental burdens. These burdens include poverty, high unemployment, air and water pollution, and presence of hazardous wastes, as well as high incidence of asthma and heart disease.

Low-Income Communities
Census tracts that are either at or below 80 percent of the statewide median income, or at or below the threshold designated as low-income by the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s State Income Limits.

Funding Agreement
A legally binding contract signed by the Air District and the grantee to fund an eligible engine, equipment, or vehicle project that will reduce covered emissions. An executed contract is a program milestone in which parties agree to meet the obligations within the contract by a specified date.

Contact Us

Grants Programs Information Request Line, Strategic Incentives


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Last Updated: 11/20/2023