One of the most famous rights of passage in an American child’s life is boarding the first yellow school bus. But as it happens, these buses aren’t as innocent-looking as their vivid hue and rounded tops would have you believe.
In fact, as Nexus Media News noted, since most school buses operate on dry land, children who stand in their shadow are probably breathing in the most smog-filled air of the day. That’s part of the reason the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding almost $1 billion to support the purchase of more than 2,400 clean school buses by school districts in all 50 states, Washington, DC, as well as several tribes and U.S. territories, the agency announced in a press release. Of course, giving children a future free of the effects of the climate problem is the second justification.
When announcing the funds alongside the EPA Administrator Michael Regan in Seattle on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris remarked, “We are witnessing the effects of harsh climate around our country and around the world.” What we’re announcing today is an advancement in our country’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, investing in our economy, and investing in improving the workforce’s skills. All with the intention of conserving our world for them and our offspring as well.
The roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan that President Joe Biden signed about a year ago provides the funds for the new buses, according to a report by Nexus Media News at the time. According to a White House Fact Sheet, the measure allocated $5 billion over the course of five years for the purchase of hybrid and electric buses. 2,463 buses will be purchased with the first installment of these monies, and 95% of them will be electric vehicles.
Regan stated in the EPA press release that President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is hastening the transition of our country to electric and low-emission school buses while assuring a better, healthier future for our children.
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Up to 25 million kids depend on buses to carry them to and from school each day. We are investing in our children’s health in a way that has never been done before, especially for those who live in areas where air pollution is a problem. Our mission to create a healthier future, lessen climate change, and ensure that all of our children have access to clean, breathable air is just getting started.
The EPA’s rebate programme was initially only intended to distribute $500 million during the initial round of applicants. However, there was such a high demand for the awards when applications for them began in May that the EPA nearly doubled them to $965 million. The subsidies were given to 389 distinct school districts.
According to The Hill, there are over 500,000 school buses in the country’s fleet, so this is only the beginning. The White House stated that the majority of them are diesel vehicles, which emit particulate matter pollution that can hurt children’s lungs and exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma. Additionally, school absences are more prevalent among kids who are exposed to diesel emissions.
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According to Molly Rauch, public health policy director for Moms Clean Air Force, it doesn’t make sense to send our children to school on buses that produce pollution that harms their brains, lungs, causes cancer, and damages the planet. Better is warranted for our children, bus drivers, and communities.
According to White House adviser Mitch Landrieu, the majority of the new buses would be completed by the start of the 2023–2024 school year and would be manufactured in the United States. Grants totaling an additional $1 billion have been allocated for the financial year that starts on October 1.