WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would invest $25 billion to convert the nation’s fleet of gasoline- and diesel-powered school buses to electric vehicles, building on a component of President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to improve children’s health.
The legislation led by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., seeks to build on the administration’s effort this week to promote the electrification of school buses, which Biden sees as an important step in addressing climate change and economic inequities.
School buses make-up 90% of the nation’s total bus fleet and typically carry nearly 25 million children each day. Emissions from diesel engines may contribute to respiratory illnesses in children, studies have found, and have been linked to poor academic performance.
The bill introduced Wednesday would authorize federal grant money over 10 years, with 40% of it devoted to replacing school buses that serve mostly nonwhite, poorer communities.