As a supporter of Mothers Out Front, a national movement of over 35,0000 mothers, grandmothers and others who are mobilizing for a climate-safe and healthy future for our children and theirs, I urge you to reconsider your decreased funding proposal for FY 20-21 for Medium-Heavy-Duty (MD-HD) zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure. For the CEC to uplift families in environmental justice and disadvantaged communities, it is critical that funding be increased for MD-HD sector for FY 20-21 and that the school bus replacement program remain a funding priority.
This additional funding is vital to protect children’s health. Diesel school buses contain 40 chemicals that are classified as “hazardous air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act. Particulate matter (PM 2.5), nitrogen oxides (NO2) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) all pose health risks ranging from asthma to heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
Retrofitting diesel buses to reduce pollution reduces respiratory illness episodes and hospital visits by 23% or more. Eliminating diesel pollution altogether--by switching to clean electric buses—will dramatically reduce the health impacts on our children and provide billions of dollars in health benefits.
Electric school buses also have the potential to create energy storage options for utilities through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, which will help reduce emissions in the state and will position school districts for possible future additional revenue from their utility.
In addition, investment in electric school buses can help expand California’s clean transportation economy with good, middle-class jobs and skilled training opportunities. For example, the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program is already preparing electricians to build the charging infrastructure needed to support zero-emission buses.
In sum, the CEC’s School Bus Replacement Program is vital to protect children’s health, create good skilled jobs and meet our California climate goals.
For a healthy environment today and a livable climate tomorrow for all children—and to promote equity and to uplift environmental justice communities—please allocate more funding for the FY 20-21 School Bus Replacement Program.