Story at a glance
- Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Boston Public Schools will begin transitioning to electric vehicles this current school year.
- The electric school bus pilot program will start with deploying 20 electric buses in the next eight to 10 months.
- By 2030, Boston Public School’s entire school bus fleet of 739 buses is expected to be fully electric.
School buses in Boston will soon begin transitioning to electric vehicles as Mayor Michelle Wu announced on Wednesday the decision is part of achieving the city’s Green New Deal.
Boston Public Schools (BPS) will begin launching an electric school bus pilot program by deploying 20 buses during the 2022-23 school year. These electric buses will replace the school district’s diesel buses and act as the initial procurement toward full electrification of the school bus fleet by 2030.
The city of Boston is using BPS’s operating budget and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund the pilot program with the goal of deploying the first 20 buses within the next eight to 10 months. The district has a total of 739 buses, which account for 11 percent of the city’s municipal greenhouse gas emissions.
Boston expects electrifying its school bus system will eliminate tailpipe emissions, address air quality and noise concerns around school pick-up and drop-off, offer a healthier work environment for bus drivers and monitors, and importantly offer cost savings over the entire bus life cycle.
“Climate justice is racial and economic justice. And this moment requires an urgent, all hands on deck approach from every level of government to reduce emissions and boost the health, safety, and opportunity of our communities,” said Wu, in a statement.
Boston was ranked as the most congested city in the country in 2019, with the city’s Green New Deal aiming to reach citywide carbon neutrality by 2040.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates that the transportation sector accounts for 29 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions — the largest percent of all industries tracked.
Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuels for cars, trucks, ships, trains and planes, with over 90 percent of the fuel coming from gasoline and diesel.
In an effort to incentive states to move toward electric vehicles, the Environment Protect Agency (EPA) established two school bus rebate programs totaling about $17 million. The rebate opportunities direct funding to school districts in underserved communities to replace old diesel buses with new, zero-emission electric models and are assisting with 444 school bus replacements across the country.
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