AESB Media Statement – Build Back Better Act Passage

By ERICA HELLERSTEIN | January , 2022

Alliance for Electric School Buses Responds to Additional Funding for a Clean Ride for Kids in Build Back Better Act

Washington, D.C. In response to the passage of the Build Back Better Act, the Alliance for Electric School Buses — a coalition representing environmental, equity, community, and labor groups who advocate for an equitable transition to zero-emission school buses — issued the following statement:

“We welcome the passage of the Build Back Better Act, and applaud the inclusion of  $5 billion for a  new Clean Heavy Duty Vehicles Program, which can  help school districts switch to clean, electric school buses that will directly improve the health of children and their communities. Combined with  up to $5  billion available  for electric school buses in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden last month, this funding represents an unprecedented investment in protecting the health of the 25 million children who are riding predominantly diesel school buses, and a needed reduction in the toxic air pollution emitted by these dirty buses. 

As these resources are distributed, our Alliance is calling for these investments to be prioritized for low-income communities of color who are forced to breathe dirtier air and suffer the health and climate consequences. This means not only putting such communities first in line for funding, but also ensuring that they have the support they need to successfully apply for and deploy pollution-free buses. We must also ensure that the transition to electric school buses promotes economic justice by providing workers in the student transportation, electrical, and school bus manufacturing industries opportunities for stable, lifelong careers with family-sustaining wages and benefits. Adopting such forward-thinking policies will protect our nation’s students, our environment, and workers. 

Our work is not done. We look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress to adopt additional investments to help transition the nation’s  school bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles. This is a strong down payment towards a clean ride for our kids, and we’ll keep fighting to accelerate this transition.” 

About the Alliance for Electric School Buses: We are a diverse partnership of nonprofit organizations united by our commitment to fully transition the nation’s school bus fleet to electric models that will clean up the air 25 million children breathe. Our coalition represents environmental, equity, community, and labor groups who work at the local, state, and federal levels. Members include: Chispa Arizona, Chispa Florida, Chispa Maryland, Chispa LCV, Chispa Nevada, Clean Energy Works, Earthjustice, Electric School Bus Learning Project, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Green For All, Jobs to Move America, Moms Clean Air Force, Mothers Out Front, New York League of Conservation Voters, Save the Sound, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, US PIRG, VEIC and WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

Mac Dressman, transportation associate for PIRG, said: “Kids across the country will soon be able to breathe a little easier. We applaud the House and Biden Administration for these historic investments in zero-emission school buses, which will lead to cleaner air and a safer climate for everyone. Now it’s time to make clean air for kids a reality by ensuring that schools transition away from fossil fuels to clean electric buses.

PASSES AND ESB FUNDING IS NOT INCLUDED

Electric School Bus Advocates Respond to Historic Climate Investments

In response to the news of the passage of the Congressional spending package, the Alliance for Electric School Buses — a coalition representing environmental, equity, community, and labor advocates who advocate for an equitable transition to zero-emission school buses —  issued the following statement in response to the legislation failing to provide funding for the electrification of school buses:

“We are deeply disappointed to see special interests impede progress to address urgent climate and public health needs. Every day, 25 million children ride the bus to school, breathing in dirty air and damaging their health. Research has shown that kids riding diesel school buses breathe in 5 to 15 times more toxins than they would otherwise. Moreover, people of color are 61% more likely to breathe the dirtiest air. Exposure to air pollution exacerbates asthma symptoms and can result in worse health outcomes from COVID-19, further putting Black, Indigenous and people of color at risk. And yet, Congress chose not to listen to their constituents and prioritize children’s health. We call on Congress to correct this by investing in the electrification of school buses in the next congressional session. Our nation’s children cannot wait – we must prioritize and protect their health for this nation to survive and thrive.” 

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