Aug 16, 2022 - News

Colorado spends $70 million to electrify school buses, but GOP objects

A Denver school bus. Photo: Katie Wood/Denver Post via Getty Images
A Denver school bus. Photo: Katie Wood/Denver Post via Getty Images

In the next decade, Colorado hopes to replace its existing school buses with a new, greener fleet.

Driving the news: The effort is starting with $65 million in state dollars and will get a boost from last year's $5 billion federal infrastructure bill, our education partners at Chalkbeat report.

  • The money will buy electric buses, as well as those fueled by compressed natural gas and propane, which can travel longer ranges in rural communities.
  • The federal effort prioritizes rural and tribal schools, while the state is giving first dibs to higher-poverty schools. New buses cost twice as much as traditional ones, but officials say they're cheaper to operate.

Yes, but: Gov. Jared Polis and the Biden administration touted the program at a recent event. But Republicans are making it a 2022 campaign issue.

  • GOP governor candidate Heidi Ganahl issued a statement claiming Polis is prioritizing a "radical agenda" rather than increasing teacher pay or per-pupil spending.

Zoom in: Aurora Public Schools is getting a head start after using a $2.2 million air quality grant to buy seven new electric buses to replace diesel buses in its 151-vehicle fleet.

Read more from our partners at Chalkbeat

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to state how much money the federal government is providing for a national electric bus program. It is $5 billion, not $5 million.

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