Getting rid of that black cloud of exhaust behind our buses, and the negative health and environmental effects that come along with it, is easier than it may seem. According to a new report from Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund, electric buses are not only cleaner and healthier than diesel buses, but transit agencies and school districts have many affordable options at their disposal to adopt them.
“Each day, millions of Americans, and millions of our children, get on diesel-powered buses that emit toxic fumes that make them sick,” said Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG transportation campaign director. “We have a better option: the zero-tailpipe emission, all-electric bus. We all deserve cleaner air.”
Many transit agencies and school districts say it’s just too expensive to switch to electric buses. But that’s not true anymore. The new report, Paying for Electric Buses: Financing Tools for Cities and Agencies to Ditch Diesel, finds that several funding and financing options, many of which can be used in tandem with one another, are available to help agencies and school districts pay for the upfront cost.
"Climate change is accelerating and transportation is now the biggest climate polluter,” said Morgan Folger, Environment America clean cars campaign director. “Switching to all-electric buses will clean the air we breathe and reduce the risks of global warming. School buses and commuter buses should pave the way to a safer climate for their riders."
The report recommends that transit agencies and school districts commit to transitioning their fleets from diesel to all-electric by 2030, and implement a plan to phase out the purchase of new diesel buses immediately. For agencies and districts that need to raise additional revenue to make electric bus purchases, the report recommends issuing municipal bonds and implementing local option taxes, while also seeking out federal, state, or local grant and incentive programs.
“We have the financial tools we need to purchase electric buses,” said Casale. “It is time to ditch our old, dirty diesel models and get on the road to a cleaner and healthier world.”