The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress this fall allocates $5 billion for cleaner running school buses. Half that amount, $2.5 billion, is earmarked for school buses that run on electricity. That’s a good start but it’s not anywhere near enough to help school districts across the country replace all their dirty diesel school buses with clean electric rides.
“While this funding is a catalyst for school bus electrification, it is not enough for the electrification of every school bus in the country. Congress must continue to offer financial support for electric vehicles through the passage of the Build Back Better Act,” writes advocacy group eSchoolBus4Kids.
As the Senate debates the Build Back Better Act, public health groups have chimed in with their support for the legislation and for electric school buses in particular. For example, the American Lung Association lists eight ways that the Build Better Act will help lung health, and the top reason is that it will help schools get more EVs: “Invest in the transition to zero-emission vehicles, including school buses.”
The ALS argues that school districts need $20 billion to transition their school bus fleets from diesel to electric as quickly as possible to improve kids’ health, to fight climate change and to save money:
- Electric school buses have no tailpipe exhaust, so they don’t emit air pollution that harms children’s health.
- They have the potential to eliminate millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
- The transportation sector is a leading source of greenhouse gases. School bus electrification is an important part of making the air healthier for everyone, especially children.
- Electric school buses can save school districts money in the long term. But many schools rely on unhealthy, polluting diesel because the initial costs can be high.
The group has produced a 30-second video that tells the story with high impact.
Secure Futures has been providing schools and colleges with clean solar power for more than a decade, with many of the same benefits that schools will get from using electric buses. Solar panels right on campus have helped schools save money and go green. Using clean energy and reducing their demand for fossil fuels has also helped cut local pollution, improve air quality and contribute to public health.
In November, at a panel discussion on the “EV School Bus Revolution,” two of our K-12 customers in Virginia, Richmond School Board Member Elizabeth Doerr and Augusta County Schools Superintendent Eric Bond, explained to the biggest annual meeting of public school leaders in the state how they’ve started converting their school bus fleets to all electric. We know that schools across the state and around the country are following their example, as Tish Tablan from Generation 180 explained at the same panel discussion, which was organized by Secure Futures.
Electric school buses are coming. We are planning to do our part to make sure that when schools do get their shiny new electric buses, they don’t have to plug them into dirty old grid electricity but instead, can run them on clean solar power.