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January 24, 2023

AEP Spreads the Word on Electric Bus Funding

Thousands of children in AEP’s 11-state footprint rely on buses to get them to and from school. Thanks to a group of enterprising employees and federal funding, some of those kids will be getting new, electric school buses soon.

Twenty six school districts across five of our states were awarded $67.1 million in federal funding in 2022, made available in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, for 170 new battery-electric buses.

“We had a big push to try to get them to apply,” said Julie Volpe-Walker, engineer principal for AEP Ohio. “Our customer experience team contacted 137 school districts in our service territory.”

Most of the awards went to districts that are rural, or lower income. Buses, whether electric, diesel or gas, are expensive purchases and the grants help replace aging equipment.

“Our team worked really hard to get the word out to their schools on this opportunity,” said Adriane Jaynes, EV program manager. “EVs are not just luxury cars anymore – and there is a big role for AEP to play in helping our communities figure out how to electrify transportation, so they receive their share of these federal investments.”

Electric buses have no tailpipe emissions and no engine noise, and make for a more pleasant experience for kids, teachers working the bus pickup lines, and drivers. Though you might miss the distinctive rumble of a big yellow bus to let you know it’s time to send the kids to school.

“They are quiet,” Volpe-Walker said. “Really, really quiet.”

The IIJA money for electric buses – and for broader EV infrastructure – isn’t a one-time thing, the funding is available over five years and the application process should be easier and smoother in 2023, Volpe-Walker said.

Some of the buses are also built in AEP's service territory. IC Bus, whose manufacturing plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is known as the ‘Tulsa Mile’ is the largest school bus manufacturer in North America, and GreenPower, recently began building electric school buses in Charleston, West Virginia.

“These buses are mission critical to schools, and will be the first EVs many of the school staff have experienced, and the first EVs that most of these students ever ride in. We’re committed to working with the schools to make these deployments a success,” said Eric Austin, fleet and public charging manager.

“Seeing the impacts it makes to students, staff and the community is great. They have so much pride in their districts and in knowing their choices have made a difference.”

AEP Helps Communities Find Money for New School Buses

  • Virginia: $23,700,000 for 60 buses
  • Oklahoma: $14,220,000 for 36 buses
  • Texas: $13,035,000 for 33 buses
  • Kentucky: $10,270,000 for 26 buses
  • Michigan: $2,765,000 for 7 buses
  • Ohio: $1,975,000 for 5 buses
  • West Virginia: $1,185,000 for 3 buses

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