WASHINGTON, DC – October 26, 2022 – More children will be able to ride to and from school in ‘clean’ school buses because of the new federal Clean School Bus Program. Grants of $1 billion have been appropriated to almost 400 school districts spanning every state, the District of Columbia, several indigenous tribes and a few U.S. territories to purchase about 2,500 ‘clean’ school buses. Vice President Kamala Harris and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Michael Regan announced the grants on October 26th. The EPA had 2 thousand applications requesting almost $4 billion for 12 thousand buses. The White House said that 99% of the approved applications were from school districts serving low-resource, rural or tribal students. The funds are from the bipartisan infrastructure law signed last year by President Biden which will provide for a total of $5 billion. The remaining $4 billion of funds will be appropriated over the next 4 years. These funds should jump start the electric vehicle industry for school buses and invest in the country’s economy by providing for more well-paying jobs. Most of the school buses will be electric-powered. Almost 25 million children ride in school buses every school day. Many of the buses will be delivered by the start of the 2023 school year and the remainder by the end of 2023.
Traditionally, school buses have been diesel-powered, contributing to climate change through green-house gas emissions and vehicular air pollution through toxic gas and particle emissions. The polluting school buses can adversely affect the health of its passengers. Only 1% of the nation’s 480 thousand school buses are electric so there has become a large effort by environmentalists and public health groups to replace the aging and contaminating fleet. This changeover is consistent with the Biden administration’s efforts to transition to zero-emissions vehicles to drastically reduce these noxious emissions. Clean school buses will reduce pollution near schools and neighboring communities and protect children’s health by providing a pollution-free environment for children who ride in the buses.
Molly Rauch, public health policy director for Moms Clean Air Force, says that “It doesn’t make sense to send our kids to school on buses that create brain-harming, lung-harming, cancer-causing, climate-harming pollution. Our kids, our bus drivers and our communities deserve better.”
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