Senators Lara, Skinner, Pan, and Wieckowski Push to Fund Clean School Buses and Trucks to Safeguard Health of Children, Business and Environment

August 29, 2017

SACRAMENTO, California – State Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) joined Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) at Clean Truck and Bus Day on Tuesday, August 29, to move toward a diesel free California by 2030 through a major investment to fund clean-fuel school buses, transit vehicles and commercial medium and heavy duty trucks.

The group of Legislators is specifically calling for nearly $1 billion in Cap and Trade and other revenues to be invested in the retrofit and/or replacement of dirty diesel-fueled vehicles through programs such as the California Clean Truck and Bus Program created by Senate Bill 1204 (Lara, 2014), the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP), and the Carl Moyer Air Quality Standards Attainment Program extended by AB 8 (Skinner/Perea, 2013).

“Diesel trucks and buses are just 3% of vehicles on the road in California, but they produce 23% of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and the majority of air pollution,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who represents one of the nation’s busiest ports and truck-traffic corridors in Long Beach and Southeast Los Angeles County. “We need to dump dirty diesel trucks and buses for the health of children and the health of our planet, and the state of California should invest in helping small operators like the Long Beach port truckers and school districts to make the shift to clean fuels.”

“Thousands of California school buses still run on dirty diesel fuels exposing children daily to toxic pollutants damaging vulnerable lung tissue and increasing the likelihood of asthma and cancer,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “Truck traffic to and from the Port of Oakland and along freight corridors like I-80 and 880 contribute significantly to health damaging air pollution. Ditching diesel and moving toward California-built zero and low emission vehicles is right for our kids and communities.”

“As a pediatrician, I see children with asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases which are caused or exacerbated by exposure from pollutants in the air they breathe,” said Dr. Richard Pan, State Senator representing the Sacramento region. “With the deployment of the largest fleet of electric buses in the country by Twin Rivers Unified School District in my Senate district, Twin Rivers students will be exposed to fewer pollutants riding to and from school, and we need to increase funding in this clean technology so all Californians will benefit."

“By retrofitting and replacing the dirty vehicles on our roads and highways, we are working to get the biggest bang for our buck,” said Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “Transportation sources make up 39 percent of the state’s GHG inventory and adversely affect some of our most vulnerable residents – children and low-income Californians.  Modernizing or replacing these vehicles with clean buses and trucks will substantially reduce the pollutants children face every day traveling to and from school and playing in their neighborhoods.”

Senators spoke in front of nine clean energy trucks and buses on the Capitol East Lawn at Clean Truck and Bus Day co-organized by Senator Lara and CALSTART. The vehicles included a brand new all-electric school bus from Twin Rivers Unified School District, one of 29 zero-emission school buses in the Sacramento area funded through the Cap and Trade program.

Increased funding to replace and/or retrofit diesel-fueled buses and medium and heavy duty commercial trucks would provide high-paying, clean energy jobs in California at such California-located clean bus manufacturers as Complete Coach Works, Proterra, Motiv and BYD Motors.

The California Legislature voted in July to reauthorize the state’s landmark Cap and Trade program under AB398, which will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for projects that reduce air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. The Legislature must approve an expenditure plan, and mobile sources such as trucks and buses are a priority for Cap and Trade funds.