Several U.S. senators have rolled out the Clean School Bus Act of 2019, a bill designed to assist school districts in replacing diesel buses with electric buses.
Leading the introduction of the bill is U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., along with U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; and Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.
Specifically, the Clean School Bus Act would do as follows:
- Provide grants of up to $2 million to replace diesel school buses with electric school buses, invest in charging infrastructure and support workforce development.
- Give priority to applications that serve lower-income students, replace the most-polluting buses, and leverage funding to further decrease pollution and emissions, including through partnerships with local utilities.
- Authorize $1 billion over five years at the U.S. Department of Energy to fund a Clean School Bus Grant Program, which would award funding on a competitive basis to replace buses.
According to the senators, the bill has garnered support from a number of groups: the American Lung Association, the California Association of School Transportation Officials, Chispa – Clean Buses for Healthy Niños, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Green for All, the Hispanic Access Foundation, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
“Our children deserve clean, pollution-free rides to school,” comments Luke Tonachel, NRDC’s clean vehicles director. “By accelerating the deployment of clean, electric school buses, this bill will help build healthy bodies and sharp minds that we will all depend on in the future.”
“Deploying more electric school buses will help address climate change and clean up other dangerous air pollution,” adds Harold P. Wimmer, national president and CEO of the American Lung Association. “We applaud Senator Harris for her leadership in protecting health – especially children’s health – from vehicle pollution.”