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### Implementing Electric School Buses: Insights from Industry Advocates

On Feb. 15, a webinar organized by the Alliance for Electric School Buses and the World Resource Institute’s (WRI) Electric School Bus Initiative brought together leaders from various sectors to explore effective strategies for establishing statewide policies on fleet electrification.

Caroline Chacon, the coalition manager for the Alliance for Electric School Buses, initiated the webinar by delving into research on electric buses and highlighting their advantages for both student transportation professionals and the students themselves. She emphasized the benefits of zero tailpipe emissions, decreased pollution, cost savings on fuel and maintenance, and the positive impact on electric grid resiliency. Chacon also underscored the environmental justice aspect, noting how electric buses can help reduce pollution in marginalized communities with poor air quality.

She emphasized the importance of states leveraging the substantial $6 billion funding available from federal programs and the growing number of manufacturers producing electric school buses.

“Taking action at the state level now can yield long-lasting benefits for students, drivers, and communities,” she emphasized.

Chacon also mentioned the availability of best practices in the Alliance’s downloadable resource.

The discussion during the webinar was moderated by Sue Gander, the director of WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative. She engaged the audience with a poll question on their motivations for promoting school bus electrification in their respective states, with responses focusing on student health, environmental conservation, grid resilience, operational modernization, and cost efficiency.

Colorado state Representative Alex Valdez shared insights on the high pollution levels in the districts he represents and stressed the urgency of addressing air quality issues, particularly through the electrification of school buses.

Katherine Garcia, the transportation director at the Sierra Club, advocated for the transition to electric school buses as a means of ensuring student safety and health, highlighting the risks associated with diesel buses.

Katrina Morris, the transportation director at West Shore Educational Service Districts in Michigan, discussed the positive impact of electric buses on students with special needs and emphasized the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to realize this transition.

Commissioner Alessandra Carreon of the Michigan Public Service Commission underscored the critical role of electric school buses in advancing the clean energy transition and emphasized the need for effective policies and collaboration across sectors.

North Carolina state Representative John Autry shared his personal motivation for supporting electric school buses, driven by concerns for his grandson’s health and well-being.

The panelists further discussed strategies for prioritizing communities affected by transportation pollution, emphasizing the importance of equity provisions and effective policy implementation.

The webinar concluded with a compelling video presentation by Regina Porras, a high school senior advocating for electric school buses as a solution to environmental challenges and health risks faced by students.

The event highlighted the collective efforts and commitment needed to drive the transition towards electric school buses for a safer and healthier future.