Green Bus Tax Credit bill reintroduced

Feb. 2, 2021
The proposal would give manufacturers a 10 percent credit for vehicles up to $1 million.

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) has reintroduced a bill that would grant bus manufacturers a tax credit for battery electric or hydrogen fuel-cell buses.  

The Green Bus Tax Credit Act (H.R.583) would allow manufacturers to claim a 10 percent credit for zero-emission buses that:

  • Will operate in the United States;
  • Weigh no less than 14,000 lbs.; and
  • Are propelled solely by an electric motor, which draws power from a battery or fuel cell.
  • The credit would apply to the first $1 million of a vehicle’s sales price.

Rep. Panetta believes the legislation would spur the development of the zero-emission bus industry, bringing down prices and making green buses more affordable across the country.

According to CALSTART’s “Zeroing in on ZEBs – 2020 Edition,” the U.S. has 2,790 zero-emission transit buses on order or deployed as of Nov. 11, 2020. The number reflects a 24-percent increase from 2019. The report also notes California is the state with the most zero-emission bus deployments. The state has 1,160 zero-emission buses with the majority, 1,108 being battery electric buses and 52 hydrogen fuel-cell buses.

"As cities and counties across the Central Coast work to transition their buses to greener models, we’ve seen them slowed by budgetary constraints,” said Rep. Panetta. “It’s hard for our local communities to play their part in battling the climate crisis without some help to lower costs from the federal government. My legislation will provide the appropriate tax credits for them to get over the budgetary hurdles and encourage the development and deployment of zero-emission buses.”

Santa Cruz METRO CEO Alex Clifford noted legislation, like the Green Bus Tax Credit Act, could help agencies transition to zero-emission fleets.

“Since May 2017, it has been METRO’s goal to transition to a zero-emissions fleet, but the significant cost differences between clean fuel buses and zero-emissions buses has had a real impact on our purchasing decisions. This legislation will help us meet the goal of a zero-emissions fleet sooner than expected should it be enacted," said Clifford.

The legislation currently has five co-sponsors: Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI-05), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03).

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.