New bill would help Va. school districts replace diesel school buses with electric buses

Commonwealth News

Delegate Mark Keam's bill would prioritize grants to school districts with high student asthma rates and low air quality levels.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Last fall, Fairfax County sealed a deal with Dominion Energy to replace its diesel school buses with electric by 2030, thanks to the effort of Mothers Out Front Fairfax.

On Monday, Mothers Out Front declared its support for Delegate Mark Keam’s (D-Va 35) bill, introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates last week, that would incentivize school districts across the state to make the switch to electric by 2030.

Mothers Out Front Fairfax Co-Leader Bobby Monacella says there are four times more school buses than transit buses in the United States. Fairfax County is home to the country’s second-largest school bus fleet.

“Something that we have actual control over changing is transportation,” said Monacella. “School buses are a huge percentage of that, so the faster we can get that changed the bigger effect we can have on Virginia’s emissions altogether.”

Mothers Out Front is in it for climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s also in it for student safety as the exhaust (and the dangerous chemicals that come with it) waft into the school bus.

Monacella says such exhaust has been linked to lower test scores and higher asthma rates. That’s why Keam’s bill would prioritize grants to school districts with high student asthma rates and low air quality levels.

Mothers Out Front is lobbying at the Richmond every Tuesday in support of the Green New Deal, solar freedom, and its electric school bus effort.

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