State Senator Bill Weber (R, Nanuet) is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to reevaluate the state’s all-electric school bus mandate set to take effect in 2027. According to the mandate, which was signed into law two years ago, all school buses sold beginning in 2027 must be electric with every bus in the state electric-powered by 2035. Weber and several of his Republican colleagues are calling the mandate unrealistic, pointing to concerns over cost, infrastructure, and reliability.
According to the letter sent to Hochul by Weber and several of his colleagues, the transition to electric buses will be a major burden to school districts because electric models cost approximately triple that of conventional buses, reaching around $400,000 per vehicle. There will be extra costs including the necessary infrastructure upgrades such as charging stations, electrical improvements, and bus garage renovations.
Weber also said that he has received feedback from school leaders in his district, who have serious concerns over costs and logistics as well.
A report from The Empire Center en- titled “Charging Forward: New York’s Costly Rush to Electrify School Buses” from November 2022 laid out the cost of this transition. The report indicates there are 50,000 school buses in the state and the cost to transition the entire fleet to electric would include $20 billion for infrastructure upgrades and somewhere between $500 million and $1.5 billion for vehicle replacement.
Citing the total 2024 statewide education budget of $44 billion, Weber says the transition for school buses alone would cost half of what the state has allocated.
“Every year our municipalities and school districts are forced to deal with unfunded mandates from Albany, but this one takes the cake,” said Weber.
Governor Hochul recently announced an allocation of $100 million to support electrification of the state’s bus fleet. Weber points out that this funding would only support around 250 buses.
Weber and his colleagues either want to see the mandate repealed, or the deadline extended.