STATEMENT: Electric school bus bill passes state legislature

Media Contacts
Sander Kushen

Former Consumer Advocate, CALPIRG

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On Tuesday, the California State Legislature approved AB 579 by state Assemblymember Phil Ting with a 47-10 vote in the Assembly and 31-8 vote in the Senate. This landmark bill puts the health of children first by promoting statewide adoption of electric school buses. Specifically, the bill establishes a goal for all new school bus purchases in California to be zero-emission by 2035. 

Currently, the majority of California’s 24,000 school buses run on diesel, a fossil fuel that increases global warming emissions and has been linked to several serious health conditions, including increased rates of respiratory illness and cancer. The risks are especially pronounced in children and have also been linked to poor academic performance.

But electric school buses offer a viable solution. Not only are electric school buses emission-free and better for the environment, but also they can save school districts money in the long run with reduced maintenance and fuel costs. Electric school buses can also contribute to power grid resiliency with vehicle-to-grid technology.

CALPIRG State Director Jenn Engstrom responded with the following statement:

“As a new school year starts, millions of children are lining up at bus stops across the state. There’s no reason that their commute to school should include a daily dose of toxic pollution.

“Thanks to the passage of this bill, our children and their parents can now breathe easier. California is poised to make the shift to all electric buses that are cleaner, healthier for kids, and cheaper to run and maintain for years to come. 

“CALPIRG advocated for an additional $1.5 billion in last year’s budget to support the transition to all electric school buses, and we applaud Assemblymember Ting and the California Legislature for taking advantage of this funding to speed the transition to healthy school transportation.”

staff | TPIN

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