American Lung Association Calls for Stronger Transportation Electrification Legislation

Chicago could save lives, avoid billions in state health impacts with robust transition to electric transportation

As Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly consider legislation nearing the end of session, the American Lung Association reminds the Governor and legislators that lives and billions of dollars are on the line with their support of a transition to electric transportation. In response to this opportunity,  American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement:

“It’s a fact: the widespread electrification of the transportation sector would avoid hundreds of premature deaths and provide almost $3 billion in public health benefits in Chicago if we reduce emissions. That’s why we urge the Governor and Illinois legislators to include meaningful electrification measures in any major energy package these next few weeks. 

“These projections are from a recent report release by the American Lung Association, called ‘The Road to Clean Air,’ which outlines the broad benefits of a transition to an electric transportation sector increasingly powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy over the coming decades. 

“We are pleased to see introduced legislation, like Governor Pritzker’s ‘Consumers and Climate First Act’ include transportation electrification. We urge the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly to move as quickly as possible to support a transition to electric transportation this session with these key priorities:

•    Invest in the infrastructure necessary to support a zero-emission transportation sector, including charging for zero-emission vehicles, transit and school buses and at truck stops.
•    Support incentives for consumers and businesses to make it easy to choose electric vehicles - a healthier purchasing decision.
•    Prioritize investments in communities facing the greatest pollution burdens today.

“Out of the metro areas, Chicago would see the third greatest benefit from a transition to electric vehicles. But we need strong leadership from our state legislators to realize the benefits in Chicago per year based on emission reductions in 2050: 

•    avoiding approximately 250 premature deaths 
•    preventing more than 3,754 asthma attacks 
•    preventing 17,191 lost workdays per year
•    $2.8 billion in public health benefits

“Our 2021 ‘State of the Air’ report also showed that in Cook County, ozone pollution, which, in part, comes from motor vehicles, places the health of over 5.1 million residents at risk, including those who are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, such as older adults, children and people with a lung disease. 

“We have the technology to transition to cleaner cars, trucks and buses, and by taking that step we can prepare Chicago for the future while also seeing the health and economic benefits forecasted in ‘The Road to Clean Air.’ Especially as our state faces the impacts of climate change, this is a powerful and practical opportunity to take action to improve our air, our health and our future.”

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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