Flood: Funding for Electric Vehicles and not for Schools

Assemblyman Ed Flood (R,C-Port Jefferson) attended a press conference today, Feb. 12, 2024, to call for a delay to Gov. Hochul’s all-electric school bus mandate. Starting in 2027, school districts across the state will be required to purchase only zero-emission school buses. Flood joined Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski), Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning), Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C-Ballston), Sen. George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay), Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats), Dr. Tom Douglas, Superintendent, Horseheads Central School District, Al Karam, Director of Pupil Transportation, Shenendehowa School District, Robert Killeen, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School Bus Mechanic and members of the Assembly and Senate Minority Conferences.

During the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Environmental Conservation last week, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and Chief of Operations Doreen Harris mentioned the Bond Act and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can fund up to 3,000 school buses, the chargers for the vehicles and transition planning. There are roughly 45,000 buses statewide, which means the funding from the EPA and the Bond Act would only cover about 7% of the costs. Meanwhile, each bus costs about $400,000 and a battery replacement is between $40,000 and $60,000. Gov. Hochul proposed a school aid increase in her Executive Budget proposal; however, many suburban and rural areas may experience massive foundation aid cuts.

“I am deeply concerned about the financial impact this transition to electric school buses will have on schools across the state, especially in school districts that may lose state funding,” said Flood. “In addition to the fiscal concerns, it has not been proven the batteries can withstand extreme temperatures as we saw in Chicago and San Francisco. The safety of our children and bus drivers should be a priority during this process and based on the information and examples from other areas in which this was implemented, I believe this process should not be rushed so proper research and planning can be done. This is not about climate change; this is simply unrealistic and will cause more issues in the future. My colleagues and I are for renewable energy and resources, but we must make such drastic changes in a timely manner with proper planning to set it up for success.”