Chapter 90 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 7C the following new section:-
Section 7C 1/2. Zero-Emission School Buses Grant Program
(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:-
“Secretary”, the secretary of the executive office of education
“Zero-emission school bus”, a school bus that produces no engine exhaust carbon emissions.
(b) Subject to appropriation and utilizing revenues received pursuant to article XLIV of the Massachusetts constitution, as amended by article CXXI thereof, the secretary shall establish a grant program to offset the cost difference between purchasing or contracting the use of school buses that are zero-emission and school buses that are diesel-powered. Grant funds may also be used to offset the costs associated with the purchase or contracted use of charging infrastructure and related upgrades. Any municipal or regional school district in the commonwealth shall be eligible to apply for a zero-emission school bus grant. The secretary shall prioritize environmental justice communities in awarding grants under this program.
(c) The secretary shall publish information about the zero-emission school bus grant program online, including without limitation application forms and submission deadlines. The secretary shall update this information annually, not later than October 1, and issue notification of this update to the senate and house committees on ways and means, the joint committee on education, the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy and the joint committee on transportation. Not more than 6 weeks after the annual update, the secretary shall issue direct notification about the zero-emission school bus grant program established under this section to municipal and regional school districts where the median household income is below the commonwealth’s median or where the 5-year average rate of emergency department visits for childhood (ages 5-14 years) asthmas is greater than the commonwealth’s 5-year average rate for the immediately preceding 5 years. The department of public health shall provide the secretary with the asthma-related rate information necessary to implement the provisions of this paragraph.
(d) The secretary shall publish online and regularly update data regarding program usage including but not limited to: (i) the number and award amounts of grants provided; (ii) the name of each school district receiving a grant; (iii) the make, model and type of school bus or buses for which a grant was issued; (iv) the school bus operational route or routes, if available; and (v) the estimated total greenhouse gas emissions reductions achieved from the grants issued. Annually not later than December 31, the secretary shall issue an annual report on grant program activity to the senate and house committees on ways and means, the joint committee on education, the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy and the joint committee on transportation.
(e) The operational services division, in conjunction with the secretary and the Massachusetts clean energy center, shall establish a statewide contract through which municipal and regional school districts can purchase or lease zero-emission school buses. The division, in conjunction with the department and the Massachusetts clean energy center, may include electric vehicle charging infrastructure purchasing or leasing in said statewide contract, or establish a distinct statewide contract through which municipal and regional school districts can purchase or lease electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
(f) The secretary shall promulgate regulations to administer the program established under this section not later than 6 months after its effective date.
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