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It’s Electric: Electric School Bus Bill To Provide $45 Million For School Districts Wins Support from Assembly Transportation Committee

For Immediate Release

 

The Assembly Transportation Committee released A1282 (Stanley/Haider/Timberlake) this morning with a supermajority of supportThe bill requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to develop and implement a three-year “Electric School Bus Program.” The purpose of the program is to determine the operational reliability and cost effectiveness of replacing diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses for daily transportation of students. This bill provides for $15 million in the first year and $15 million annually in subsequent two years to NJDEP, a total of $45 million subject to availability, to provide grants. 

Environmental groups including NJ Sierra Club, Environment New Jersey, NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, and more support the bill and urge for swift passage before the end of the session in June. A1282’s State Senate equivalent, S759 (Diegnan/Greenstein), passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on February 3rd, 2022, by a 6-0-1 vote and was referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations. Similar legislation passed the Senate in December by a 35-3 vote.

“The electric school bus bill is an important step in the right direction when it comes to getting electric vehicles, specifically electric school buses, on our roads. Children are among the most vulnerable to health impacts from air pollution caused by diesel emissions. We thank Assemblyman Stanley for his leadership in protecting our children from diesel fumes. This legislation will strategically begin the process of replacing diesel school buses considering all NJ’s geographical areas while prioritizing Environmental Justice communities. Not only will this transition from diesel to electric reduce air pollution, it will also reduce operating costs to school districts in fuel and maintenance over the life of the bus,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, New Jersey Chapter Director of the Sierra Club.  

“Pollution from the tailpipe emissions of heavy-duty diesel vehicles should be a thing of the past because the technology already exists to move us into a zero-emissions reality. Children should not bear the health burden of our inaction any longer. I am excited to see what this important bill will make possible for the students of our state,” saidLori Caughman, Esq., New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance.

More than 15 years ago, New Jersey voters overwhelming supported a ballot question to clean up dirty diesel school buses. Back then, we didn’t have any other option. Today, states around the country are leading the way to make the transition to electric school buses. Diesel emissions seep into the cabin of existing school buses and into the lungs of our children. It’s time to protect our kids’ health and our air quality by taking the first step to electrification. We thank Asm. Sterley Stanley’s leadership on this legislation and we urge its passage this month,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey.

“New Jersey’s students are ready to move into the future on zero-emissions school buses. It’s especially critical that communities that bear the burden of the cumulative impacts of air pollution from heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses, along with other environmental and climate risks, are the first to make this important transition away from diesel burning buses,” said Melissa Miles, Executive Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance.

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