On June 6, 2019, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Clean School Bus Act with several Democratic colleagues. The bill, if passed, would provide public school districts around the country with $200 million a year in funding to replace traditional diesel school buses with new, electric buses. This would have the effect of hastening the electrification of the school bus fleet in the US, both by stimulating the production of electric buses suitable for school use, and by encouraging the creation of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in locations around the country. It would additionally reduce school children's exposure to pollutants from diesel emissions.
If passed into law, the Act will create a Clean School Bus Grant Program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to encourage increased adoption of electric school buses. This grant program in turn would provide competitive grants of up to $2 million to local governments for new electric school buses, EV charging infrastructure, and training their workers to operate and maintain electric school buses. Priority would be given to school districts serving the neediest students, and for replacement of the most polluting buses.
Senator Harris hopes this bill will have a significant impact on reducing GHG emissions. Her office notes that transportation has overtaken the electric power sector as the largest source of greenhouse gasses in the US, and school buses make up about 90% of the nation's bus fleet.
The bill is endorsed by, among others, the American Lung Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Green for All, League of Conservation Voters, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).