Clean School Buses Will Help Usher in a Healthier Future for our Children

Prior to the pandemic, tens of millions of children in the United States rode to and from school each day in diesel buses that release toxic pollution into the air, which has a negative impact on their health and attendance, particularly for students with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT) today reintroduced the Clean School Bus Act, a bill that was originally introduced by Vice President Kamala Harris while she served in the Senate.

“Our children need a healthy environment to learn and thrive. Moving to zero emission school buses eliminates toxic diesel air pollution and helps our children breathe easier. By introducing the Clean School Bus Act, Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Patty Murray and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes are demonstrating their strong commitment to the health of America’s children and the clean transportation future they deserve,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President of Political Affairs.

The Clean School Bus Act would create a program at the Department of Energy (DOE) that provides financial and technical assistance to school districts across the country to replace traditional school buses with electric ones, invest in charging infrastructure, and support workforce development. The Clean School Bus Program would be authorized for $200M per year from fiscal year (FY) 2022-2027, resulting in a $1.2 billion dollar investment.

Senator Cortez Masto re-introduced the Clean School Bus Act as part of a broad electric vehicle (EV) legislative package. EDF is also proud to support these following efforts to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure:

  • EVs for Underserved Communities Act with Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY): This legislation directs DOE to assess the state of, challenges to, and opportunities for the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color, and would authorize $60 million per year from FY21-FY30 to address the findings of this assessment. See EDF’s statement on the bill here.
  • The Electric Transportation Commission and National Strategy Act– This legislation aims to establish a joint working group at the Departments of Transportation and Energy to promote coordination and helps to establish a clear strategy and a national framework for our clean transportation future.
  • The Greener Transportation for Communities Act The federal tax code allows for the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance certain private projects, with public interest, like airports, ports, green buildings, and other infrastructure. This legislation would allow zero-emissions infrastructure to qualify for this exemption.
  • The Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act – The legislation directs the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) sites to expand their adoption of cleaner transportation technologies. Creates a $50 million dollars joint initiative, run by each of these agencies and the DOE EERE, to build the necessary charging infrastructure, consisting of three parts: building infrastructure on NPS and USFS land for charging and refueling by collaborating with charging companies and utilities; prioritizing shuttle services that use ZEV technology; converting NPS and USFS fleets to ZEVs and creating a strategy for fleet conversion.
  • More Access to ZEV Equipment (MAZE) in Transit Act – This legislation adds zero emission vehicles charging infrastructure as eligible expenses with Federal Transit Administration programs, allowing for more deployment of chargers at transit stations and associated parking facilities.

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