The United States is rapidly electrifying its school bus fleet thanks to the many efforts of advocates and school districts, as well as unprecedented funding such as the U.S. EPA’s $5 billion Clean School Bus Program. Electric school buses, which have no tailpipe emissions, are a critical investment for the 1-in-3 school aged children who depend on the yellow bus each day and especially low-income and Black students, and students with disabilities, who rely on school buses more than their peers.
Electrifying school buses can help school districts cut costs, provide healthier and more equitable rides for children, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. To date, 2,277 electric school buses are either on order, delivered or operating. In total, there are nearly 6,000 electric school buses on the roads or on their way to school districts.
While the progress of electrifying school buses is encouraging, without an intentional approach, the transition runs the risk of perpetuating ingrained systems of inequity. The ongoing impacts of discriminatory housing, lending, planning and budgeting practices mean communities of color and low-income communities experience the worst burden of air pollution, fewer financial resources for schools, and lower levels of investment in the electric grid. While the transition to electric school buses alone cannot address these unequal conditions, it can be part of, and potentially a model for, a greater effort to center equity across the vast clean energy transition underway today.
Join World Resources Institute on November 29 for a discussion about what an equitable transition of the school bus fleet looks like for students, communities and workers across the United States. The event will include a fireside chat with Alejandra Nuñez, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Mobile Sources, Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and it will be followed by a panel discussion with speakers from Tribes, school districts and environmental justice organizations to discuss efforts to ensure an equitable transition and a safer and healthier transportation system for the nation’s students.
Carla Walker, Director, Environmental Justice and Equity, United States, World Resources Institute
Alejandra Nuñez, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Mobile Sources, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Maranda Compton, Founder & President, Lepwe
Margarita Parra, Director of Transportation Decarbonization, Clean Energy Works
Justine “Justice” Shorter, former National Disaster Protection Advisor for America’s Protection & Advocacy System
Abre' Conner, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice, NAACP
Karen Campblin, Chair of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, NAACP Virginia State Conference
Sue Gander, Director, Electric School Bus Initiative, World Resources Institute
Breaking down climate policy and investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to facilitate implementation at the federal, state and local levels and support uptake by both the public and private sectors.