Statement: Advocates back members of Congress calling for an additional $300 million for electric school buses

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

WASHINGTON – United States Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) led a letter on Wednesday requesting $300 million in new funding for electric school buses in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. The letter also called for additional outreach and efforts to bring zero-emission buses to rural and underserved schools.

Nearly 95% of America’s school buses run on diesel. Diesel exhaust has been linked to several serious health risks, including increased rates of respiratory illnesses and cancer. Diesel exhaust is internationally recognized as a cancer-causing agent and classified as a likely carcinogen by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act dedicated $2.5 billion to electric school buses, representing enough funding to replace roughly 4% of 480,000 U.S. diesel school buses.  

In response, U.S. PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale issued the following statement:

“By accelerating the transition to electric school buses, the United States could take a serious step to protect children’s health. Getting to school shouldn’t include a daily dose of toxic pollution. Transitioning to all-electric buses would first and foremost ensure our children have a clean and healthy ride to school, but could also be an important step to addressing climate change.

“Thank you to Senators Padilla and Warnock, and Representatives Cárdenas and Hayes for your leadership in protecting the health of our children. We hope to see Congress add this funding to its budget and continue these efforts into the future.”

In addition, Environment America Washington Legislative Office Executive Director Lisa Frank stated:

“In school districts all across the country, clean school buses are rolling. But we need many more if we’re going to truly meet our climate goals and transition to 100% zero-emission, clean-running electric buses. To get there, we’re going to need a much larger investment. Environment America thanks our senators and representatives for their efforts to roll out more electric school buses.”