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On Earth Day, City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate Michelle Wu Calls for End of Dirty Diesel Polluting School Bus Fleet, Full Electrification by 2030

Released on: April 22, 2021

Boston, MA - On Earth Day, City Councilor At-Large and Candidate for Mayor Michelle Wu joined advocates, including Mela Bush-Miles, Transit-oriented Development Director of ACE, Micheal Huguet of Sunrise Boston, and David Meshoulam, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Speak for the Trees, to call for the City of Boston to electrify its school bus fleet by 2030. (View the full press conference here.) The BPS transportation fleet consumes nearly 60% of all the diesel fuel consumed by the City government. This is part of Michelle’s Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools, part of her larger education vision to upgrade facilities and ensure every school is a modern, healthy and inspiring place to learn. 

Roughly 24,000 Boston students are transported to and from school on 3,100 bus trips every day, and about half of these buses still run on diesel fuel. Pollution on diesel buses has been measured at 5-10X higher than in other nearby areas, causing outsize impacts on childrens’ learning, development and health. Not only do pollutants from diesel fuel cause asthma and other respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer but there is also evidence to suggest the diesel directly impacts childrens’ English and math scores. Boston’s Black, Latinx and AAPI residents are disproportionately exposed to particulate matter pollution from cars, trucks, and buses.

Here in MA, Beverly has already begun the process of transitioning to an electric fleet. The Biden infrastructure plan includes incentives and grants for municipalities like Boston to electrify school buses and build a network of EV chargers with strong labor and installation standards. 

“We need to immediately move away from dirty diesel fuels that pollute our neighborhoods and move toward clean air for our children, our communities and our bus drivers. Boston needs to commit to a full electrification of our school bus fleet by 2030 as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure our kids come to school happy, healthy and ready to learn, and as part of the fight for environmental justice. As Mayor, I will take every possible step to protect the health of our residents and seize on opportunities in the green economy. That starts with our children, from clean, sustainable school transportation to rebuilding Boston Public Schools facilities into healthy, energy-efficient, inspiring places to learn for our students and educators,” said Michelle Wu.

"The urgency is now. Earth Day is every day but on this Earth Day, in 2021, we must push for cleaner air, cleaner water, and to clean up our communities, and electrification will move us in that direction. We must do it sooner rather than later. We don't have time to waste. The climate is changing rapidly and more intensely in our communities here in Roxbury and Nubian Square. Congestion is coming back after a year of lockdowns and shutdowns, and more pollution is being generated -- and we bear a higher burden,” said Mela Bush-Miles, Transit-oriented Development Director, Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE).

“We’re looking to a Michelle Wu administration to replace every single Boston Public Schoolbus with an electric one. This will be a huge undertaking, but it’s a critical step in a local Green New Deal. This is an opportunity for Boston to lead the fight against the climate crisis,” said Micheal Huguet of Sunrise Boston.