With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s new Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over fiscal years 2022-2026 to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. School bus replacements will protect both children’s health and the environment across the United States with an emphasis on communities that have been historically underserved. Program success requires that potential applicants for funding mechanisms such as grants, rebates, or contracts are aware of these opportunities and know how to apply. Given the size and importance of this program, EPA required assistance to ramp up quickly. EPA asked ERG to provide support for education and outreach to communities and stakeholders regarding funding opportunities offered by the program, and to develop tools to support the application process.
To build program identity, ERG helped EPA establish a program brand, including a program logo. Through mechanisms such as webinars, listening sessions, and the Clean School Bus helpline, we’ve been supporting EPA in engaging key stakeholder groups, including school districts and related state and local government agencies, non-profit school transportation associations, Tribes and related organizations, school bus manufacturers and suppliers, community members, and others with an interest in school transportation issues. We also support EPA in developing educational tools based on stakeholder feedback, including program guides and materials to facilitate funding to communities (including underserved communities) across the U.S. for low-emission school buses.
In just a few months following passage of the BIL, ERG assisted EPA in setting up systems to support the program’s ability to issue awards of Clean School Bus rebate funding to school districts across the country. To support the application process, we developed online forms for program applicants and selectees and provided data systems support. We also helped EPA create a dashboard for rebate applications, payment requests, and project closeout that integrates Login.gov, SAM.gov, GSA Forms Platform, and EPA’s Business Automation Platform for workflows, data access, and data storage and management. ERG also developed a Qlik Sense dashboard to display information for EPA management.