The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia (ASTSBC) have finalized an agreement for the CIB to provide up to $30 million towards the purchase of up to 280 zero-emission school buses (ZEBs).

“Modernizing school bus fleets supports healthier communities by significantly reducing air pollutants. This is another example of how the CIB is investing in projects which improve the quality of life for Canadians,” stated Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The CIB’s financing will work in conjunction with funding provided by the provincial government’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. All funding will be available for ASTSBC’s members to make ZEB purchases during the upcoming 2021 school bus purchase program.

ZEBs are expected to have lower maintenance and fueling costs compared to equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting vehicles. A zero-emission electric school bus saves approximately 17 tonnes of GHGs annually compared to a diesel school bus and helps owners lower their carbon footprint.

The electrification of school buses is a key initiative to help the British Columbia’s goal of reducing GHG emissions by 40 percent by 2030. Bus operators will be responsible for procurement, charging infrastructure and maintenance of vehicles.

The CIB’s investment is another important step towards achieving the Government of Canada’s goal of 5,000 ZEBs.

The CIB’s loan will cover the higher upfront capital costs of ZEBs compared to diesel buses, helping to accelerate the electrification of the school bus fleet. Financial savings are estimated to be substantial, as lifetime operating costs for ZEBs could be as much as 35 per cent lower than diesel buses.

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Achieving financial close on this project signifies that all contractual steps have been completed to allow the ASTSBC’s members to access the CIB’s financing. With support from the CIB and the provincial government, the ASTSBC’s members can purchase approximately 280 electric ZEBs and associated charging infrastructure over the next five years.

The Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia is focused on cutting emissions from our fleets and providing clean, safe transportation to the school children in our care,” said Frank Marasco, association manager. “By partnering with the CIB, we are at the forefront in providing safe and emissions-free vehicles critical to transporting current and future generations of children.

Featured image: Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash


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