Washington, D.C. — Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) was joined by U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis, CLCV Federal Advocacy Coordinator Aaron McCall, and Sybil Azur, a mother and community organizer to discuss the critical health, environmental, and community benefits of transitioning dirty diesel-fueled school buses to pollution-free, electric buses. Currently, over 25 million children ride the bus to school and thousands of bus drivers breathe polluted air from dirty diesel school buses.
Rep. Cárdenas recently introduced the Clean Commute for Kids Act with Rep. Hayes (CT-05), Sen. Padilla (CA) and Sen. Warnock (GA). The bill would authorize $25 billion to rapidly transition the nation’s school bus fleet to clean, electric buses over ten years, prioritizing the public health of communities most impacted by air pollution, particularly communities of color and communities who have low wealth, and including labor standards centered on protecting workers.
“Every day, millions of children in our nation breathe in toxic emissions from diesel school buses and develop health and respiratory problems as a result,” said Congressman Antonio Cárdenas. “The Clean Commute for Kids Act prioritizes our communities, especially those of color, by cleaning up pollution and replacing old diesel buses with new, cleaner, and zero-emission electric school buses. Now is the time to reshape the way our kids get to school. When we invest in pollution-free school bus fleets, we invest in truly making the world better for our children, including my own grandchildren.”
“We know that children in historically marginalized communities are most impacted by toxic air pollution — this is especially harmful to their health since they are still developing. A bold investment in the transition to clean, zero emission school buses is a crucial step towards addressing the inequities that children in low-wealth communities and communities of color face,” said LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis. “We need Congress to pass the Clean Commute for Kids Act to fund the switch to pollution-free buses so we can Build Back Better and advance climate, jobs, and justice.”
“The Clean Commute for Kids Act is the type of bold, forward-thinking investment that we must prioritize for the health of children and communities not just in California, but across the country,” said CLCV Political and Organizing Director Mike Young. “We are thrilled with Representative Cárdenas and Senator Padilla’s leadership, bringing California voices to the table for a bill that is the culmination of years of marginalized families working hard to provide clean air for their children. Transforming our nation’s school bus fleet will be a gamechanger for reducing air pollution, creating good-paying, union jobs, implementing labor standards for workers, and addressing the climate crisis.”
“My family and I have seen first-hand the realities of climate change while living in L.A., and understand the importance of improving air quality by investing in zero-emission transportation,” said community organizer Sybil Azur. “Children, especially those in communities of color and low-income communities, deserve to breathe healthy air on their way to school and transitioning to an electric school bus fleet will help make this a reality. We owe it to our children and future generations to pass this legislation and continue making strides toward a clean energy future.”
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