HOUSE BILL 75
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Debra M. Sariñana and Yanira Gurrola
RELATING TO SCHOOLS; PROVIDING SCHOOL DISTRICTS THE OPTION TO REPLACE SCHOOL BUSES WITH ELECTRIC OR ZERO EMISSION ALTERNATIVE FUEL SCHOOL BUSES; ALLOWING SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS FOR THE USE OF THEIR ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES AS ELECTRICAL ENERGY STORAGE FOR PROVIDING GRID SERVICES OR FOR USE BY SCHOOLS; TASKING THE BOARD OF REGENTS OF NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY WITH CONDUCTING A STATEWIDE STUDY ON THE FEASIBILITY AND COSTS FOR EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT TO TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES AND PROVIDING A REPORT DETAILING THE NECESSARY STEPS AND COSTS FOR EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT TO MOST OPTIMALLY TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES; MAKING APPROPRIATIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-8-27 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1967, Chapter 16, Section 77, as amended) is amended to read:
"22-8-27. TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT.--
A. The department shall establish a systematic program for the purchase of necessary school bus transportation equipment.
B. In establishing a system for the replacement of school-district-owned buses, the department shall provide for the replacement of school buses on a twelve-year cycle. The department shall provide school districts the option to replace a school bus with an electric or a zero emission alternative fuel school bus. School districts requiring additional buses to accommodate growth in the school district or to meet other special needs may petition the department for additional buses. Under exceptional circumstances, school districts may also petition the department for permission to replace buses prior to the completion of a twelve-year cycle or to use buses in excess of twelve years contingent upon satisfactory annual safety inspections.
C. In establishing a system for the use of contractor-owned buses by school districts or state-chartered charter schools, the department shall establish a schedule for the payment of rental fees for the use of contractor-owned buses. The department shall establish procedures to ensure the systematic replacement of buses on a twelve-year replacement cycle. School districts requiring additional buses to accommodate growth in the school district or to meet other special needs may petition the department for additional buses. Under exceptional circumstances, school districts may also petition the department for permission to replace buses prior to the completion of a twelve-year cycle or to use buses in excess of twelve years contingent upon satisfactory annual safety inspections.
D. The school district shall file a lien on every contractor-owned school bus under the contract, which lien shall have priority second only to a lien securing a purchase-money obligation. The school district shall perfect its lien on each contractor-owned school bus by filing the lien with the motor vehicle division of the taxation and revenue department. The lien shall be recorded on the title of the school bus. A school bus contractor shall not refinance or use a school bus on which a school district has a lien as collateral for any other loan without prior written permission of the department. A school bus lien shall be collected and enforced as provided in Chapter 55, Article 9 NMSA 1978. The school district shall release its lien on a school bus:
(1) when the department authorizes a replacement of the school bus; or
(2) when the contractor has reimbursed the school district the amount calculated pursuant to Subsection E of this section if the school bus service contract is terminated or not renewed and the contractor owes the school district as provided in that subsection.
E. No school district shall pay rental fees for any one bus for a period in excess of five years. In the event a school bus service contract is terminated or not renewed by either party, the department shall calculate the remaining number of years that a bus could be used based on a twelve-year replacement cycle and calculate a value reflecting that use. The school district shall deduct an amount equal to that value from any remaining amount due on the contract, or if no balance remains on the contract, the contractor shall reimburse the school district an amount equal to the value calculated.
F. If the school district fails to take action to collect money owed to it when a school bus contract is terminated or not renewed, the department may deduct the amount from the school district's transportation distribution.
G. If a school district chooses to replace a school bus with an electric or a zero emission alternative fuel school bus, the department shall provide that school district with no less funding per bus than it would provide for a diesel school bus replacement. If sufficient school bus replacement funds are available, the department may provide additional funding for an electric or a zero emission alternative fuel school bus and related charging infrastructure."
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS ALTERNATIVE USES--SUPERINTENDENT AGREEMENTS.--
A. Electric school buses owned, leased or purchased by the state may, when not in use by the school district for the transportation of students, be used as electrical energy storage for:
(1) providing grid services; or
(2) use by schools to reduce daily electrical demand and for electric supply in an emergency, as determined and declared by the superintendent of the school district that owns, leases or purchased the electric school bus.
B. Prior to an electric school bus or its battery being used pursuant to this section, the superintendent of the school district that owns, leases or purchased the electric school bus shall negotiate an agreement with a school, electric utility or cooperative service, in compliance with applicable code and safety requirements, for the use, compensation or testing of the bidirectional charging capability of the school bus or its battery.
SECTION 3. TEMPORARY PROVISION--STATEWIDE STUDY ON TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES.--
A. The board of regents of New Mexico state university shall study and report on the feasibility and requisite actions, costs and infrastructure for each school district to transition to electric school buses and related grants and incentive opportunities. The report shall include:
(1) an analysis of whether each school district could feasibly use electric school buses, considering the school bus route lengths and times and whether the school district operates the school bus fleet or contracts for the service; and
(2) for those school districts for which an electric school bus fleet would be feasible:
(a) the costs for each school district to purchase electric school buses or convert its existing fleet to electric, build the necessary charging stations and charging infrastructure and make the necessary electrical changes;
(b) an analysis of whether one-sided or two-sided charging stations, to allow for public use, would be possible and optimal; and
(c) a blueprint detailing the necessary steps for each school district to most optimally transition to an electric school bus fleet.
B. By August 1, 2025, the report shall be completed and copies transmitted to the secretary of public education, the superintendent of each school district and the chairs of the legislative education study committee, the interim committee that studies science, technology and telecommunications and the interim committee that studies transportation infrastructure revenue.
SECTION 4. APPROPRIATIONS.--
A. Four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the board of regents of New Mexico state university for expenditure in fiscal years 2024 and 2025 to conduct the study and prepare the report pursuant to Section 3 of this act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2025 shall revert to the general fund.
B. One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the public education department for expenditure in fiscal year 2025 for the state transportation division to develop expertise on electric buses, charging stations, related infrastructure and electrical changes, share this expertise with school districts and assist school districts with federal grant applications for electric school buses, charging stations and related infrastructure and electrical changes. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2025 shall revert to the general fund.
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