Clean Transportation Advocates Celebrate an Electrified Future
On Wednesday, March 29, the State of Colorado announced the launch of two new, highly-anticipated grant programs to fund electric vehicle purchases. In April, the state is due to consider another clean energy bill for trucks, which will add to the state’s move toward energy efficiency and pollution reduction.
The Clean Fleet Vehicle & Technology Grant Program will support purchases of light, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for commercial and institutional fleets. This program is funded through the Clean Fleet Enterprise, a program created by the legislature and Governor Polis through Senate Bill 21-260.
Additionally, the Colorado Electric School Bus Grant Program will help Colorado school districts acquire electric school buses and associated charging infrastructure. This program, will be managed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. It was created by the legislature and Governor Polis last year as part of Senate Bill 22-193, a package of investments in improving air quality.
Both programs are competitive awards. The initial application period will extend through 5:00 p.m. on June 30. Future rounds of funding will be announced on an ongoing basis.
Colorado clean air, climate protection, and energy efficiency advocates say they are celebrating the availability of these new funds and add that creating clean fleets are a huge opportunity for Colorado.
“This new Clean Fleet grant program is arriving at a perfect time,” said Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Transportation Program Director Travis Madsen. “Colorado is considering the Advanced Clean Truck Rule in April, which, if approved, would require manufacturers to make more electric trucks available in Colorado in future years. New state funding will help businesses buy those clean trucks – and help deliver cheaper transportation, healthier air and a safer climate for everyone.”
The Colorado Energy Office released a study in October 2021 that examined the potential benefits of electrifying medium- and heavy-duty fleets in the state at a pace consistent with achieving our climate protection goals. That study found $20 billion in benefits over the next 30 years – including savings for fleets on vehicle ownership, billions in benefits from reduced pollution, and savings on electricity bills.
After that study was released, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Inflation Reduction Act passed Congress, and this has made billions of dollars of federal funding available to drive the transition. This includes: an EPA electric school bus grant program, an EPA medium- and heavy-duty vehicle grant program, and significant tax credits with uncapped value.
Rocky Mountain Institute estimates that this funding has made short-haul EV trucks cost-competitive with traditional combustion models as of this year. In fact, it has pulled the date of cost parity for long-haul electric trucks forward up to a just over the horizon date of 2027.
“These new programs will be a great additional tool to help Colorado improve air quality in our Disproportionately Impacted Communities that suffer the greatest health impacts from air pollution,” said Clean Transportation & Energy Policy Advocate at GreenLatinos Juan Roberto Madrid.
“The transition to electric buses and trucks will mean less pollution and less noise,” said Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr, who also serves as the President of Colorado Communities for Climate Action. “This is especially important for the many communities around the state that have highways running through them, from Pueblo to Denver; Idaho Springs to Edwards; Montrose to Ridgway. Hats off to the Polis Administration for launching these important programs.”
“These new programs prove that Colorado and Governor Polis are committed to cleaning up vehicle pollution,” said Nissa Erickson, Federal Funding Coordinator at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “The new Clean Fleet and Electric School Bus grant programs line up perfectly with the billions of additional dollars that the federal government is investing through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. These grants will help fleets and school districts save money on transportation, while improving public health and protecting our climate. We’re excited to have these new clean transportation tools up and running.”
The state funding announced on Wednesday will make fleet electric vehicle purchases an even clearer choice for business and school districts, and help accelerate the transition to zero-emission technology.
For more information, The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, visit swenergy.org.
Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA) is a coalition of 42 counties, cities and towns across the state advocating for stronger statewide climate policy. For more information its website is cc4ca.org
GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino/a/x leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.