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Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Jahana Hayes (D-CT-05) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29) and Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced the Clean Commute for Kids Act, which prioritizes our children’s health by directing $25 billion to transition diesel school buses to zero emissions electric school buses. Nearly 25 million children ride close to 500,000 predominantly diesel buses to school in the US each day, exposing them to toxic air pollution and contributing to climate pollution. This legislation would help electrify our nation’s fleet of yellow school buses and is in line with the Biden-Harris administration’s effort to transition 20% of the diesel school bus fleet to electric buses, as laid out in the American Jobs Plan. Earlier this week, Vice President Harris toured an electric school bus manufacturer in North Carolina to highlight the economic benefits of cleaning up our transportation sector. Additionally, President Biden virtually toured [see embedded video] a similar manufacturer in South Carolina this week, emphasizing how electric school buses would physically improve the health of all kids traveling on school buses to and from school.
In response to the introduction of the Clean Commute for Kids Act, Trisha Dello Iacono, National Field and Legislative Manager for Moms Clean Air Force, issued this statement:
“We applaud our visionary lawmakers for bringing us the Clean Commute for Kids Act, which will help electrify our nation’s school buses and put our families on a path toward a clean energy future.
“This Act addresses the sobering fact that millions of children still ride diesel-powered school buses, putting their health at risk from dangerous pollution that can trigger asthma attacks and interfere with their ability to learn.
“If passed, this bill will help improve the health of our kids, their bus drivers, and all our communities, while reducing harmful climate pollution. It is high time that the millions of children exposed to lung-harming diesel pollution during their commute to and from school be afforded a clean and safe ride.
“The Clean Commute for Kids Act recognizes the fact that clean air is not evenly distributed. Children living in low-income communities are often disproportionately exposed to harmful pollution. That’s why this bill prioritizes replacing school buses that serve students eligible for free or reduced price lunches. This important provision shows a commitment to environmental justice in communities that need it the most.
“The robust investment in electric school buses laid out in this bill will help move us closer to the day when every child can get to and from school without breathing in diesel pollution. We know it’s carcinogenic. We don’t want it on our school buses. And we have a proven solution at hand. It’s time we invest in this solution. As a mother of four young children, I implore the entire Congress to do right by our children and support the immediate electrification of our country’s entire school bus fleet.”