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Biden administration announces $1 billion for low-emission school buses

The Biden administration has named 67 recipients of nearly $1 billion to replace their school buses with low-emission and zero-emission vehicles.

The round of funding, announced Monday, brings the total awards to 439 across 652 school districts, for a total of $1.84 billion. It will fund the purchase of more than 2,700 such buses across 280 school districts in seven states, the Environmental Protection Agency said in the announcement. The agency said it brings the number of zero- and low-emission buses funded nationwide to about 5,000. 

“Every school day, 25 million children ride our nation’s largest form of mass transit: the school bus. The vast majority of those buses run on diesel, exposing students, teachers, and bus drivers to toxic air pollution,” Vice President Harris said in a statement announcing the $1 billion in funding.

“As part of our work to tackle the climate crisis, the historic funding we are announcing today is an investment in our children, their health, and their education. It also strengthens our economy by investing in American manufacturing and America’s workforce.”

The Sierra Club praised the move in a statement Monday, with Clean Transportation for All Director Katherine García saying, “Parents want their children to be safe and healthy at school – and this includes while they are riding to and from school each day. Parents also want clean air in their neighborhoods and investments to help tackle the climate crisis. Electrifying the nation’s school bus fleet moves us forward towards these important goals.”

As of 2023, more than 90 percent of school buses around the country relied on diesel fuel, according to research by the World Resources Institute. The health issues associated with exposure to diesel pollutants, such as particulate matter, have themselves been linked to poorer academic outcomes for students.

One such study, published in 2021 in the journal Environmental Epidemiology, found an association between increased exposure to particulate matter and lower average math and English scores. 

Source: The Hill

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