Senate Must Increase Funding for Zero-Emission Electric School Buses

American Lung Association calls for full investment of $20 billion for electric school buses for sake of kids’ health and environmental justice

In response to the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure agreement, which will proceed to debate after today’s cloture vote, American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer issued the following statement:
“The Senate vote to begin consideration of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a step toward addressing the serious infrastructure problems our country faces. However, the American Lung Association is disappointed by the level of funding proposed for zero-emission electric school buses. It is also discouraging to see that the proposal includes funding to perpetuate the use of combustion fuels for new school buses. 

“Infrastructure, air pollution, and lung health are all interconnected, and nowhere is this connection more evident than in America’s school bus system. Every day, the 25 million students riding school buses in this country inhale dangerous diesel exhaust fumes. Air pollution has been shown to damage children’s lung function. The health impacts of diesel school bus pollution are most significant for kids from low-income communities, who are more likely to rely on buses to get to school, and kids from Black and Hispanic communities, who are disproportionately exposed to higher levels of air pollution.

“The funding included in the bill — just $2.5 billion of the $20 billion investment the President proposed — would only be able to transition a small fraction of the country’s diesel school bus fleet to zero-emission electric buses. In order to create healthier and safer environments for all our students, Congress needs to significantly increase this investment. A $20 billion investment will transition one-fifth of the country’s school bus fleet to zero-emission buses, providing critical health and climate benefits.

“According to our new poll, transitioning to zero-emission school buses has bipartisan, popular support; an overwhelming majority (68%) of American voters— across all major demographic groups — support Congress investing $20 billion in zero-emission electric school buses for children nationwide. 

“We are grateful for the senators in both parties who worked diligently across the aisle to find common ground on issues impacting every single American. However, to more effectively protect our kids from dangerous diesel exhaust fumes, Congress must not only commit to increase the funding for zero-emission electric school buses, but also better prioritize investments that will improve healthcare and protect health from climate change and air pollution. Our children deserve better.”

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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