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How electric school buses can create healthier communities, good jobs, and clean rides for kids in New York

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two million New York students relied on the state’s 46,000 school buses — the vast majority of which are major producers of toxic emissions and greenhouse gasses.

This report, by Ian Elder, national senior researcher at Jobs to Move America, argues that by transitioning swiftly to electric school buses, New York can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, create cleaner air for kids and communities, and support good job creation.

The report includes a suite of policy recommendations tailored for New York, including:

  • The creation of a major pilot program and the implementation of an electrification policy for New York City’s new school bus nonprofit, NYCSBUS. So far, New York City has purchased two ESBs.
  • At the city level, passing a citywide electric school bus mandate. As of January 2021, there was a proposal before the City Council to mandate a transition to electric school buses; this report suggests that an even faster transition may be possible.
  • At the state level, the report recommends that New York State follow the model of the Jobs to Move America’s U.S. Employment Plan to create a New York Jobs Plan (NYJP) policy that would improve jobs in school bus manufacturing. Such a plan should also include best-value procurement for school bus contractors. Best-value procurement for school bus services will allow fleet operators to compete on quality and community benefits, not just price, and will improve job quality and stability for school bus drivers, attendants, and technicians.
  • At the state level, creating a large and stable funding stream for electric school buses. One promising avenue is the NY Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), under consideration in the 2021 legislative session.

“From the climate crisis to the pandemic, New Yorkers need ambitious solutions that will create good, green jobs; invest in communities of color; and build a clean economy. If our city and state leaders get the policy right, New York can use the transition to electric school buses to create healthier rides for kids while supporting a just recovery for New York’s working families.”

Ian Elder, author of the report and senior national researcher at Jobs to Move America. 

Learn more about electric school buses in New York:

Read why environmental justice organizations, community groups, and unions endorsed our policy recommendations in our press release.

Read Michael Elsen-Rooney’s story in the New York Daily News about the report.

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