Electric School Buses — Safer and Cleaner For Our Kids | Opportunity For All Floridians

Electric School Buses — Safer and Cleaner For Our Kids

By Former Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner

As Miami Dade County Public Schools prepare to receive 10 new electric buses for their fleet, it’s important to remember that the current fleet of 1,000 diesel buses continues to cost the district millions in fuel costs and negatively impact the health of the children who ride them. Studies have shown that diesel exhaust is a major health hazard and can harm the lung development of growing children.

Fortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering $500 million in rebates for zero-emission and low-emission school buses through the 2022 Clean School Bus Program, in addition to the millions already awarded to Florida school districts through the Volkswagen settlement and other federal funding sources.

The Miami-Dade County Public School Clean Energy Task Force recently issued a report recommending transitioning the entire school bus fleet to electric in the next several years and creating the necessary infrastructure through charging stations and hubs. This transition would not only improve the health of our children but also significantly reduce fuel costs. The report also recommends the creation of a Sustainability Director position to support and coordinate clean energy initiatives. This position has now been filled, and the district is working closely with the county to align their efforts and make cost-efficient investments in transportation infrastructure.

This will be a long-term investment for public transportation; although electric buses may cost more upfront, they cost less to maintain, and each bus will save around $11,000 per year on fuel compared to its diesel counterparts. They pay for themselves. Replacing a diesel school bus with an electric bus is equivalent to taking 27 cars off the road. Children and communities will not be forced to breathe toxic pollutants that exacerbate or increase incidents of respiratory illness.

The recently signed 2022 Inflation Reduction Act is the largest climate investment ever and will put the US on a path to reduce pollution by addressing the root cause of dirty fossil fuels. It is crucial that our county, and hopefully the rest of the state, follow suit and invest in clean energy from the sun, through solar panels on our schools, to further reduce energy costs and create energy independence.

As our municipal and county governments have made commitments to transition to clean energy, it is essential that our Miami-Dade County Public School system takes advantage of the incentives and federal funding available to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030. This aligns with the Miami-Dade County Climate Strategy, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.

Economic Opportunity Actions:

Add Your Name: Strengthen Protections for Homeowners Facing Construction Fraud

Write your Florida lawmakers to build a better financial safety net for Florida homeowners facing contractor fraud.
Add your name

Add your name: Support homeowners’ insurance rebates for Florida’s low-income seniors

The sharp increase in insurance premiums is pushing many seniors to the brink of losing their homes. Write your lawmakers to support SB 348, which ...
Add your name

Tell Florida Lawmakers: Help Us Lower Our Electricity Bills With Reliable and Affordable Energy Options

Volatile natural gas prices are driving electricity bills through the roof for families across Florida. Tell Florida lawmakers: we deserve reliable and affordable solar energy ...
Add your name

More articles about economic opportunity in Florida:

house renovation

Contractor Fraud Allegations Soar in Florida: Why the Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund Needs an Upgrade

Floridians who have to deal with fraudulent construction contractors are left with little recourse, and the state fund designed to help them recover funds is ...
Read More →
natural gas price volatility

Volatile Natural Gas Prices Are The Key To Florida’s Painful Electricity Bills

Many Florida residents struggle to pay their electricity bills, and the skyrocketing costs are due to the volatile natural gas market.
Read More →