More than 25 million children in the U.S. ride school buses. And most of those buses spew diesel fumes that can worsen asthma and other conditions.
“We’re literally making kids sick by sending them to school in these buses,” says Francisco Sayu of the nonprofit Renew Wisconsin.
He says electric school buses offer a clean alternative.
They’re better for kids’ health and cut back on global warming pollution. They save districts money on fuel. And they’re expected to need less maintenance than conventional buses.
But electric buses cost much more than their diesel counterparts.
So to help schools make the switch, the federal government is investing $5 billion over five years to replace existing school buses with zero- and low-emission models.
In Wisconsin, 15 districts were awarded funds last fall to purchase 65 electric buses. Sayu’s group helped districts learn about the new technology and apply for the funds.
He hopes the early adopting districts can inspire others and set a path toward cleaner transit.
“Not only we will be doing the right thing in terms of electrifying our transportation, which has its own benefits, but we’ll also be exposing our kids to the technologies of the future,” Sayu says. “It gives me hope.”
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media